A Business Idea - Could This Possibly Work?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by aus2min, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. aus2min

    aus2min

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    First off, I would like to point out that I don't have an industry background, so please apologize if this comes across as totally dumb. But I'm intent on starting my own business, so I would like to explore this idea of mine.

    I know nowadays, restaurants buy more and more premade stuff. But a lot of this is made by specialized manufacturers. So, I was wondering, couldn't restaurants compete with them and make their own stuff, both for their own use and to sell it to other restaurants? In every bigger town, there are areas where there is a restaurant on every corner. My line of thought was that in such places where restaurants are closely clustered, each could specialize in one type of intermediate product and sell it to the others in the same area. They way I see it, this would have at least two advantages:
    - Many restaurants are only open around noon and in the evening. This way, they could generate additional income during off-hours.
    -  Rather than ordering stuff from a manufacturing company that has to ship it all across town or even from another town, you would order it from another restaurant across the street or a couple blocks down the road - a lot less wasteful.

    Where I would come in is, I would basically provide an online platform where restaurants could sign up and buy & sell from other restaurants in the area.

    OK, to repeat, I am not a chef, nor have I ever worked in the culinary industry. My idea might be a total pipe dream, which is why I'm posting it on here. Hope somebody is kind enough to give me their insight on this.

    Thanks!
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Under that system, there's not much left for the restaurants to differentiate themselves from each other. They all serve the same things.

    Things like this happen in some specialized parts of the industry. I can think of a few places that use some local bakeries to source specialty breads, pastries and that sort of thing.
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    If a cluster of restaurants purchased each other's products then they would be all the same restaurant.  If McFood bought Burger King's fries and BK bought McF's burgers what would happen?
     
  4. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Actually, your idea is already working.

    Many places here in Vancouver do this. For instance, a few Indian places make curry pastes and chutneys.  I do pastries, chocolate and jams for a number of cafes and stores. 

    However, I do my own marketing, as do the Indian places, but I have been approached by Sysco a number of times to "carry" my stuff.

    It does have merit, but the key word in this biz is  VOLUME.  Every place has a break-even point where the stuff they produce is a pain in the azz or makes money.
     
  5. aus2min

    aus2min

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    Wow, thanks everyone! Was a bit afraid no-one was going to respond to this. Really appreciate your replies.

    @phatch & @kuan, yeah, I get your point, makes sense. But I was also thinking about "intermediate" products (I don't know what the appropriate term for that is - the equivalent of "work in progress" in a factory). You know, like sauces or pie crusts or whatever. The final product will then not be exactly be the same. One restaurant may use the pie crust to make an apple pie, the other will bake a quiche. So, IMHO, in that case, there would still be room for differentiation.

    @foodpump, yeah, I guess that's what I'm talking about. I did have a feeling that it was already being done. But as far as I can tell, there exists no central platform yet where restaurants could offer their products as you described. Do you think there would be demand for such an online market place? How do you market your food? Also, do you deliver yourself or do you use a courier?
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    The catering facility I ran in New York sold other caterers their hot Hors D Ourves  . Why? because I had machines that would make 10000 Franks in Blankets an hour or 5000 meatballs your choice of size in about 45 minutes. Poatato knishes about 5000 an hour. They could not do it cheaper or for that matter as consistant as us.
     
  7. everydaygourmet

    everydaygourmet

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    Chef Ed, what as the equipment?, 5k meatballs in an hr?, impressive, more info please. Sorry do not mean to hijack the thread.

    A2M,

    what are the specifics?, or do you envision a restaurant depot type of set up?, would think you'd have more luck with specialties or hard to find/make products. Speaking from experience as I do manufacture spice blends for private label.

    Cheers,

    EDG
     
  8. chefedb

    chefedb

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    The Frank in blanket machine at that time cost 10,000. it was a type of extruder with a conveyor  and you had to use their recipe for dough. sit was imported from italy. It is the same type of machine they use to make pizza rolls.

    The meat ball machine is still made today as far as I know  it has different size dyes and can be even set to make mini slidersand full size burgers. I forgot who made it but my instinct tells me Hobart.