Who will purchase your mushrooms?
When you are growing for resale you have to think about your potential markets for your mushrooms.
Most growers think about these markets first.
Direct to Consumer Sales VIA Farmers Markets
Online Sales for dried or prepackaged
Some also think of distributor sales when they grow.
Today we are going to talk about Restaurants and High End Chefs.
Getting started is often much like making a professional friend. Many local restaurants (especially fine dinning) are supportive of great local growers and farmers.
The farm to table movement is one that can be a real boost to any talented grower.
You will find your products in demand if you provide great mushrooms and are the leader in your marketplace. But now is the time. You have to start and get in these locations before any new competitors come along.
By dealing direct with a restaurant you offer them a real value. When restaurants deal with food distributors the distributors ad anywhere from 30-40% of the cost of the mushrooms. Not only are your products likely a little fresher but also you can provide that added value.
Getting your mushrooms fast to local restaurants will matter. Take samples of your mushrooms the same day within hours of the time you harvest them. Then commit to delivering to them only the fresh mushrooms within 2 days of your harvest date.
This means making those commitments and keeping them.
A great farm operation can connect and sell $500 or more of product to a single restaurant each week. That means for real income by anyone’s measure you would only need 10 successful restaurants to earn $5,000 a week in average sales when you get to volume size for your orders.
On Meeting Chefs
On Meeting Chefs:po a restaurant (even by the backway) ask very politely for the chef. Be ready to speak with them asking them if they work with local farmers and are interested in fresh local mushrooms.
When they answer remember to listen. Too many people in these situations forget that they have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Your nerves take over and then you mouth goes wild. Just ask them qustions, introduce yourself, and offer some samples for them to cook with and enjoy.
This is true face to face meetings, not on the phone or down the street. But with them on their own grounds and terms.
Just remember that their kitchen is their castle and respect their ground. You want to make professional friends and become a trusted resource for them.
At a minimum you should have some basic business cards for this first meeting, and the offer of ready samples either in hand or available the next day.
You want to cement this connection by providing the best solution for them and their needs.
Also ask what they needs are. Do not just push what they offer. If you have a chef telling you that they want a variety you do not currently carry ask them about the size of the order they may like and offer to provide samples of that as a new line once it is ready.
Remember if they love your product you could be talking about $500 or more a week so it may be worthwhile to offer to grow their preferred variety.
What is true here is what is true in all of life. If you can provide people what they want and need and a price they can agree to, you can move toward success.