The Urban Farmer: Selling to Restaurants is Great! Maybe, Maybe Not. A look at the Pros and Cons of Selling to Restaurants (FSFS58)

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Today’s show is a continuation of the conversation with Curtis about High Maintenance versus Low Maintenance Customers.

This is Part 2 of that series and today we specifically focus on the pro’s and cons of selling to restaurants taking into account high maintenance versus low maintenance.

Given that this is Part 2 it probably makes more sense to listen to Part 1 first, Episode 17 – All Customers ARE NOT worth Selling To, An In-Depth Look at High Maintenance versus Low Maintenance Customers.

But you won’t be totally lost in this one if you haven’t heard that episode.

Pro’s and Cons of Restaurant Sales:


  1. Different market stream.
    1. It is one of many channels to move product.
  2. Gives your farm exposure.
  3. Can buy big quantities, which means big sales
    1. Less packaging for those quantities.
    2. Which is less work to pack larger quantities.
  4. Can be a consistent buyer with purchases occurring regularly or semi-regularly.
    1. Some chefs will buy it all carte blanche, if you have it, they will take it, but it’s rare.
    2. Some restaurants might have standing orders.
  5. Fast sales versus standing at a farmers market.
    1. More dollars per unit of effort into that sale.
    2. Bear in mind you still have to collect on the sale.


  1. Chefs can be diva’s.
    1. Very picky and demanding.
  2. Chefs can be high maintenance.
    1. Changing orders on the fly.
  3. It can be tough to get restaurants to place orders.
  4. It can be problematic collecting from them.
  5. Restaurants are a risky business and they come and go so it’s hard to build a business around them.
    1. They also might not have the loyalty that you would expect.
  6. Depending on your location, delivery could be difficult, or not profitable.
  7. Restaurants can use your farm name to promote their business when they really don’t buy much product from you.
    1. The Tampa Bay Farm to Fable article that we mentioned in this episode.

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