Whether your restaurant is a vegetarian’s delight, or you’re known for your oversized onion rings, knowing that you’re going to receive consistent pricing and quality from your produce vendors is key. A proper produce management program will ensure consistency in product, contracted pricing, food safety optimization and more.
Companies like Fresh Concepts elevate their relationships with local growers and shippers to bring you a premier managed produce program. Part of this management process is giving you peace of mind in your produce partner relationships. Fresh Concepts does that with their recordkeeping. They store a record of contact information and certificates of insurance for distributors and shippers, plus third party audit information. By keeping a tab on this information, they can easily manage next steps when food safety concerns arise, ensure traceability, and keep suppliers accountable on implementing best practices and their certificates. They also conduct second-party audits for certain distributors and shippers with high-risk items to make sure all brand standards are maintained.
Another important feature of a produce management program is their process of dealing with food safety risks. Fresh Concepts focuses on a three-prong approach to food safety management: second party audits of facilities to prevent food safety risks, a formalized process when outbreaks or recalls do occur, and a perfected communication alert system and process for getting you replacement product if needed. The foodservice industry is often filled with food safety risks and working with Fresh Concepts is one way to ensure you are properly protected against possible outbreaks and informed against recalls and other issues. They also focus on ensuring restaurant operators are informed of food safety precautions they can take in their operations. During the recent government shutdown, Javier Martinez, Food Safety Manager at Fresh Concepts, reiterated, “The actions taken at the operator level — in the walk-in refrigerator, in the kitchen, at washing stations — make up the critical “last mile” in the food safety chain. Following proper techniques for washing and prepping food at the restaurant level can help to ensure the highest levels of food safety. “ (source)
A produce management program can also be very beneficial in the irregularity of pricing in the produce market. Programs like Fresh Concepts work with shippers, growers, and suppliers to ensure you get contracted pricing that consists of set highs and lows that often protect you from the volatility of the industry while offering you savings. For example, throughout 2018 there were multiple romaine lettuce recalls that not only caused public panic, but affected the pricing on romaine lettuce and its other leafy counterparts. Fresh Concepts was able to give its customers an alert to price changes, an update on the outbreak within two hours of its notice, and a list of producers who they could order from that could offer the correct item to their specs. Andy Rosenbloom of Buyers Edge Platform says, “The produce market can experience crazy price fluctuations throughout the year for a whole variety of reasons: seasonality, weather, demand, or even politics. Having a produce management partner in place ensures that your prices maintain stability, quality and safety.” Having this level of insight and accountability from your produce management partner is imperative to running your operations efficiently.
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