Tag Archives: Ozro & Ray’s

Benefits for Foodservices to Go Local with Food

A few weeks ago, we provided an introduction to restaurants going local with food with Jeffrey Besecker, executive chef of Ozro & Ray’s and executive director of Greenville Community Gardens  in Greenville, Ohio.

While local food tops some trend lists, perhaps it’s not a trend at all, but something that’s here to stay.  Going local has benefits for both an establishment and a community.

Whether you would like to make drastic changes, or just would like to make a few minor tweaks, there are a variety of ways to go local at your foodservice establishment.

Besecker’s Benefits for Going Local

1. Know Products First-Hand: Buying local provides a more thorough understanding of the quality, care and contents of your ingredients.

2. Reduced Food Miles: The expenses to have food delivered to your establishment will be lower with local suppliers.  Also, your customers will be provided with a fresher meal.

3. Safer Food: Buying food locally allows for a more accurate ability to deter the inclusion of by-products and additives that can lead to detrimental health issues and side effects. (For instance… ever heard of a little thing called pink slime?)

4. Shorter Supply Lead Times: Shorter lead times reduce the cost associated with stocking food.  Why? By reducing storage needs, you will be able to keep fewer foods in reserve and can have more frequent deliveries.

5. Reduced Impact on the Environment: Buying local will decrease the amount of time the food coming to you will be on the road. This will reduce the amount of strain placed on the environment to supply that food.  Also, potentially harmful side effects will be eliminated as many of the processing procedures associated with long term food handling will be done away with.

6. Stimulate Your Local Economy: If you pump more money into your local economy, you are effectively ensuring those around you have the resources to patronize your business with a greater frequency.

Turn “I Can’t” into “I Can”

It’s easy to make assumptions or excuses for why it might be too difficult for a foodservice to go local. But there’s a challenge to everything and sometimes a certain challenge isn’t as challenging as one might think.

Besecker said the first excuse foodservices make as to why they can’t go local is time and effort.

“The foodservice industry is often already a very labor and time intensive endeavor,” he said. “The added burden of providing yet another link in that food supply chain is a distinct possibility but no more so then researching the lowest cost, best quality provider in a more traditional supply chain.”

He added that in the end, it all comes down to the amount of energy you feel comfortable utilizing and how that cost and out pour is managed within your business model.

“With a small investment, one can easily find the means to capitalize on a local food chain to great benefit.”

A second hurdle that turn many foodservices off to the idea of going local is foodservice regulations and restrictions of locally sourced food.

Besecker said one concern may be whether or not local, state or national health codes restrict the use of local foods.

“Nearly all the same rules apply in utilizing locally-sourced foods as well as those governing their safe handling,” he said. “In most cases, a greater sense of security in the quality and safety of the local foods exists merely because of a more thorough attention to their growing and handling.”

How Your Restaurant Can Go Local

According to Besecker, there are several levels of involvement in which a foodservice can go local.  So whether it be big or small, if you are interested in going local, there is a way.

1.Traditional Food Suppliers: After realizing the importance of local, Besecker said many of the traditional food wholesale suppliers have adopted locally sourced product lines to include with their other typical foodservice offerings.

2. Local Food Wholesalers: Cut out the number of miles and potential “middle men.”

3. Farmers Markets: These provide fresh, locally-grown foods that Besecker said can often be brought right near your delivery dock or even right to your location.

4. Local Farmers: For many instances, a solid farm operation is never too far away–even in larger cities. In fact, Besecker said New York City foodservice operations rely more per capita on local farms than any other food service market in the country!

Image: Greenville Community Gardens5. Community Gardens: Grow along with your neighbors and customers.  It can help benefit your bottom line and also the way your customers view food.  Working with community gardens can even help your customers set new standards for their own way of life.

6. Restaurant Gardens and Farms: Many restaurants have created their own garden or farm to help supplement their food supply.

(Image at left provided by Greenville Community Gardens).

Big thanks to Jeff Besecker with providing such great information on how foodservices can go local with food.  If you missed the first blog, read it here and also check out Greenville Community Gardens and Ozro’s & Rays.

 

 

An Introduction to Restaurants Going Local with Food

Image: Greenville Community Gardens

Local food was on the top of many food and restaurant trend lists for 2011 and 2012, but perhaps this isn’t a trend at all.  From buying locally to actually growing food, the emphasis for restaurants has been higher.

This week we worked with Jeffrey Besecker, executive chef of Ozro & Ray’s and executive director of Greenville Community Gardens (GCH) in Greenville, Ohio to learn more about going local and how restaurants can benefit from it.

Why Go Local?

“A return to a local food system may not just be the latest fad, or merely jumping on the band wagon,” Besecker said. “It may very well be the wave of the 21st century as well as a necessity for survival.”

Image: Jeltovski/MorgueFile

Cost (supply chain), quality control (increased freshness, improved taste), sustainability and marketability are Besecker’s reasons for restaurants going local.

“One of the chief reasons to “Go Local” may well be the increase in marketability in your product line or business,” he said. “An area that is often overlooked in general in the foodservice industry is building a brand name which will assure the sustainability and success of your business model.”

Looking deeper, Besecker gave three key reasons why locally sourced products impact marketability.

1. Local foods provide added market value.  They are fresher and taste better, which customers will come back to.  Also, working with food producers directly can enable restaurants to expand menu options.

2. Buying local food increases customer awareness.  Collaborating with other local businesses increases exposure because essentially client bases are combined.

3. There is a heightened client perception.  Besecker said by investing the caring, time and energy to increase the value of your business through locally frown foods, you relay a greater level of caring for your customer base.

Importance and Crucial Factors

“As a foodservice business, the two main concerns which stand out above all else are the relative freshness factor of food products sourced within a close radius to your business and the relative reduction in cost which can be associated with sourcing your food locally,” Besecker said.

Image: Earl53/MorgueFile

Supply chain pricing is affected by the distance food has to travel from the producer to the restaurant, also known as “food miles.”  The further the food, the more expensive it is because factors such as fuel, storage, handling costs, etc.

“Does it not make perfect sense then, to consider sourcing your supply chain as closely as possible to your business with fewer stops and hands in your pockets in between?” Besecker asked.

Looking into the food itself, frozen and preserved foods tend to lose their freshness and flavor as well as vital nutrients.  Fresh foods will taste better and have more flavor.

“As any good chef will know, if one wishes to achieve maximum freshness and flavor from product and other products, then minimal delay from harvest to table will yield the best results.”

Real Examples

For Ozro & Ray’s, an authentic home style bagel shop, Besecker said they are using a locally sourced food model.

Image: Ozro & Ray's Facebook

“We are utilizing a combination of small, local farms, local farmers markets within a 100 mile radius of our business, community gardens and a collaborative with another local restaurant operation with their own farm to source our food supply needs,” he said.

Also, they have local food wholesalers who have adopted their own versions of locally sourced food programs.

Besecker said their long term goal is to develop a business plan to tie a local goods restaurant concept which ties in with a general store concept that focuses on local Ohio product lines.

Local Food Resources

Next Month…

Stay tuned next month for more information from Besecker, including the benefits of going local, stereotypes/hurdles and what restaurants are doing.

Image: penywise/MorgueFile

Also, be sure to check out Greenville Community Gardens as well as these two other sites Besecker told us about, Small Town Growth Group and Local Provisions. In the future, we’ll also look into schools going local and other foodservices as well.

What local initiatives is your area or restaurant involved with? Is there anything you would like to learn more about for our next blog?