If you are serving coffee in your establishment you should check out our 7 tips to make sure you pick a great wholesale coffee supplier to support your business - and get your happy customers to return again and again. There are hundreds of coffee wholesalers in the UK so it’s really important that you choose the right one for you. You need delicious coffee, a reliable supplier that can react quickly to any changes in demand, fairly priced coffee beans to fit your budget and who is supportive of your business model. You may also want to consider where the coffee is from and how it is produced. And you may be in a position where you want to sell retail packs of the coffee as well.
So how do you find the right wholesale coffee supplier for your business?
The first thing you should consider is how important great coffee is to your business. If you are running a coffeehouse or café where the quality of the coffee beans is the focus then your will depend on amazing coffee. Even if you invest in training and employ talented barista to use your coffee machine, no one can make great coffee from poor beans. While you might think that the coffee for your gym, office or restaurant is less important, you are already aware that great coffee makes a big difference to your customers, even if it's not your prime focus. So you know you still need good quality coffee that your customers will enjoy which fits your budget and also fits in with your and your customers’ values. The fact is that Get in the Mood wholesale gourmet coffee beans will impress customers in a coffee shop where quality is paramount AND fit the needs of other venues.
What happens when the supplier of your coffee machine ties you into purchasing their coffee beans too? This can seem like a simple solution for your business but, in truth, it often turns out to be a bad idea. What happens if your customers do not like their coffee and mention this in their reviews? Can your supplier adapt to the way you work? What happens if you end up tied into a lengthy, costly contract that doesn't suit you any longer? This is the reason many independent coffeehouses, bookshops, gyms and restaurants are considering alternatives and you should too.
7 tips for finding the right wholesale coffee supplier
- One way to find a trade coffee supplier is to visit local independent cafés and restaurants and find out who supplies their coffee. You can also perform an internet search of “wholesale coffee suppliers” or “coffee suppliers for small businesses”. Whilst you are searching online you’ll be able to get a feel from the company websites for where they are based, what their supply chain is like.
- You need your supplier to offer a completely reliable service when it come to delivery, but you also need great coffee. Think about whether you want to support an independent trade coffee supplier with ethical values? Consumers are becoming increasingly aware and interested in where the products they consume are sourced from and there’s a big emphasis on backing local, independent or ethical suppliers.
Once you have a shortlist of local coffee suppliers you can ask them for some samples of their coffee roasts. You need to try out the coffee to check for yourself how it’s going to taste and to learn how to tweak the strength to work best with your coffee machine.
- Ask your potential coffee bean supplier what their prices are, their minimum and maximum order volume and what their order turn around times are. You might also want to ask about their packaging and labelling, as well as the size of their bags, if you have a view on on these things.
- Flexible delivery options can make the world of difference, particularly when it comes to minimum level orders. When you’ve already spent out on your coffee machine and all the other equipment and supplies you need for your café, hiring your staff, setting up your café area, you don’t need to be tied into a costly coffee supply contract. But also make sure their roaster has a capacity for high volume orders when your sales grow. You should find a coffee wholesaler who can flex their deliveries without penalising you on price. Someone who already feels like your partner so when your business really takes off you can ramp up your orders quickly, but who still understands that in quiet periods you’ll want to reduce your coffee orders so it stays fresh.
- Check the price – the quality of the coffee should be your highest priority, but you need to ensure you are purchasing it at a good price. Your customers are willing to pay more for great coffee, but the fact is that they won't pay over the odds - and nor should you. As we mentioned before, you should check that you won't be hit by an unreasonable price hike if you have to reduce your order quantities at any point. This can be really important for if your market is affected by seasonal changes in demand. The fact is that bulk pricing doesn't save you money if you end up with wastage because your coffee beans have gone stale and your customers move to your local competition for a better latte or a fresher espresso.
- Once you have narrowed down your choice even further ask for references and testimonials. Look for evidence that the coffee supplier provides good customer service and is easy to work with, as well as reviews of the actual coffee.
- Have you thought about selling retail packs of coffee to complement other products you sell or as an additional income stream for your café? If that you wish to do that, then check that your potential wholesale coffee bean supplier also has well-packaged, attractive retail packs with a good price margin.
If you would like to find out more about how Get in the Mood works with trade customers, you can take a look at our blog on selling coffee at the Shop at Coo Corner.