Looking to take advantage of the hot quick service breakfast market? You need a reliable vendor to supply your fast food restaurant with the breakfast meat it needs. But what should a QSR supply chain manager or chef look for in a breakfast meat supplier? Are there common characteristics that you could use to narrow the field and find the right vendor partner?
Today, let’s examine 4 things quick service restaurants should require of a breakfast meat supplier — before they sign a vending contract.
Today’s consumers demand to know where their food is coming from, how it was produced and what exactly is in it. They want to know how their food was handled on its journey from the farm, to the packing plant, to the table. Why? Because they want to be sure their breakfast is safe. They want to be sure that their breakfast is healthy. And they want it to be ethically sourced.
In a globalized economy where food is sourced from many different suppliers in many different countries — all with differing food safety standards — it’s imperative that fast food companies keep a close eye on all levels of their supply chains.
Between 2003 and 2012, E. coli contamination led to 80 recalls of beef in America alone, resulting in more than 300 hospitalizations and 5 deaths. And that’s just one type of meat. Fast food profits are dependent on the assurance that their pork, poultry, beef and other protein suppliers are taking every necessary precaution to prevent foodborne illnesses.
As Maryann Mazuran, director of purchasing for Teriyaki Experience, told QSR Magazine, it’s wise to ask a lot of questions when a potential vendor comes knocking.
“I look at the number of years the supplier has been in business and if they are working with other quick-service restaurants,” she said. “I also get samples and internal feedback from our product development team before putting the product out to the market.”
Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, food contamination problems can occur. And that’s why it’s imperative that your breakfast meat vendor has the data, protocols and technology to quickly trace down the source of a foodborne pathogen and eliminate it from the supply chain.
And in a market environment in which consumers demand to know how their food is produced, it’s necessary to be able to trace back your restaurants ingredients all the way to the individual farms that produce them, so that your fast food company can monitor those producers and ensure they’re living up to your promised standards.
That’s not just a best practice for mitigating liability. It’s a brand-building necessity.
According to Don Tapscott and David Ticoll, in their book The Naked Corporation: How the Age of Transparency Will Revolutionize Business, building a vendor accountability program into your QSR company’s operations can win you allies and customers from unexpected corners, as Burger King learned in 2001, when PETA endorsed its products following the fast food chain’s voluntary decision to hold its suppliers accountable for animal cruelty.
QSR companies need to be able to respond quickly to fluctuations in demand. Fast food companies must be able to meet consumers’ changing expectations with a minimum of disruption to their operations — both on the macro and the microscale.
When you’re looking for a breakfast meat supplier, make sure that it’s agile enough to switch gears along with your restaurant’s business. It should be able to source locally as much as possible, in order both to satisfy consumers’ wishes and keep your company’s delivery costs low.
When local sources aren’t available, your vendor should be connected enough outside your immediate region to arrange safe, reliable, cost-effective deliveries from reputable meat suppliers. And it should be able to seamlessly pivot back to local suppliers when those again become available.
The best meat vendors should be able to fill multiple product lines or items so that you can streamline the number of vendor contacts your company’s procurement manager or your restaurants’ managers have to individually manage.
Your breakfast meat supplier should, for example, be able to supply you with fully cooked bacon and sausage patties, meats pre-packaged for sous vide prep or whatever other ingredients you need to make your AM daypart a success.
In the QSR industry, cost management is the key to success.
Your meat supplier should be able to help you manage your costs through transparency, traceability, agility and flexibility. Make your company’s breakfast endeavor a safe and profitable one. Look for the characteristics above when it comes time to sign a new vendor contract.