As consumers become more aware of what goes into preparing their food and where it comes from, some restaurant owners have chosen to invest in locally grown, seasonal ingredients to create simple, healthy dishes.
While buying local food isn’t a new concept, the farm-to-table movement is taking the restaurant industry by storm and the results have been powerful. Here are four ways buying local leads to a stronger community:
Supporting local businesses ensures dollars spent are kept within the community. When a small business selects a local farm as its main food supplier, this strengthens the economy. Not only is the restaurant supporting another local business, but in turn its customers are as well. As the demand for farm-to-table dining experiences increases, so will employment opportunities for all companies involved in the process. This fosters greater community engagement, loyalty, and offers greater appeal to tourists visiting that city.
Small Business Benefits
From a financial perspective, shorter supply chains and high table turnover is important. The more people you have walking through the restaurant doors, the better. If you’re serving more customers, having shorter supply chains from the local farm will greatly reduce shipping costs.
The dining experience at a farm-to-table restaurant is unique; setting it apart from other businesses and building interest in the community. As a result, the restaurant remains top of mind for those who want to dine out, further enhancing its reputation. Companies who partner with the restaurant will also benefit from the ability to attract more customers, due in part to the restaurant’s need to purchase more ingredients from the farm, but also in association with the restaurant itself.
Ingredients are purchased locally rather than shipped from other regions in the country, so less transportation and fuel consumption are required. This helps to reduce the restaurant’s carbon footprint and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
This business model offers a number of customer benefits as well. Compared to processed foods, farm-to-table restaurants offer greater nutritional value to their customers. Since it is a shorter distance from the farm to the restaurant, less preservatives are needed to ensure peak flavor and freshness upon arrival. Chefs will then use simple preparation methods to maintain the nutritional integrity of the ingredients, allowing customers to consume most of the nutrients and minerals without worrying about unwanted chemicals.
The farm-to-table movement demonstrates the positive impact buying local has in growing the economy, protecting the environment and promoting a healthy lifestyle. These are some of the many benefits small businesses offer and it’s important to remember the value all can bring to the table to help communities thrive—even if it’s not locally grown.