farm to table

6 min

Farm-to-table: tips and tech to make it feasible

Thinking on joining the farmers market and using local food? More and more restaurants are turning to organic farming. Farm-to-table is rising in popularity, but there are challenges involved. The good news is we know some technology that makes farm-to-table more feasible for your business.

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What does farm-to-table mean when used in a restaurant?

Farm-to-table is a relatively new concept in restaurants. It means that the restaurant buys its ingredients directly from local farms and serves them as soon as possible after they are harvested.

The idea behind farm-to-table is that it's more environmentally responsible, healthier and fresher than other food sourcing methods. That's because farms are closer to consumers, so there's less time between harvest and consumption. There's also less risk of spoiling or contamination because farmers can monitor crops during their growing cycle and harvest them at their peak.

Farm-to-table is also often seen as an economic benefit for farmers because it allows them to sell products at higher prices than they would otherwise get from wholesalers or distributors.

why the concept of farm to table seduces diners

Do you like to know where your food comes from? Many people do. And what started off as a social movement aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and local economic and environmental benefits has grown into a cultural phenomenon. We’re talking about farm-to-table.

For many hungry diners, there’s a real passion for what is seen as a more ethical and environmentally-friendly way to source food. A Gen Z Purpose study by Cone shows that 90% of younger consumers believe companies must act to tackle social and environmental issues, and 75% will do their research to see if a company is following through on its promises.

They’re increasingly aware that supporting artisan suppliers, whether they be local farmers, wine-merchants, cheese-makers or any other dedicated culinary craftsmen, benefits their region’s economy too.

But if you want to get in on the farm-to-table movement, there are challenges as well as advantages to consider, particularly for restaurant supply chains.

The 3 challenges of farm-to-table restaurants

To adopt farm to table, restaurant owners need to adapt their menu to the seasons, be mindful of the cost, and manage a larger number of suppliers.

1/ Season-ing your ingredients

If all your ingredients come from local producers, your restaurant is at the mercy of the changing seasons. You’ll need to update your menu to reflect what’s available regularly. One solution is to offer a smaller ever-changing farm-to-table menu alongside a regular menu. If you do, be sure to give a clear indication of which dishes are locally sourced.

2/ Counting the cost

Produce from organic farms and artisan food producers can be expensive, so your farm-to-table menu items will be costlier too. Meat can be particularly pricey, and while this won’t be an issue for some diners, cost will be a deciding factor for others.

Conduct a bit of market research before committing to a new farm-to-table menu. Make sure there is sufficient local support to justify the change, or you’ll end up with a very expensive fridgeful of unused ingredients.

3/ Supply chain gaps

Dealing with many local suppliers brings unique problems in addition to the seasonal changes. Suppose an artisan producer experiences difficulties on their farm or in their workshop. In that case, you might find crucial ingredients go undelivered. What’s more, multiple suppliers means multiple invoices to track, and as we often point out here at Libeo, most restaurant owners already lose ten hours a week dealing with invoices.

Tracking so many deliveries and payments, or having to quickly source alternate local suppliers would be very challenging if it weren’t for some help you can enlist…

Invoice payment management: what every restaurant owner needs to know

Farm-to-table technology 

Tried & Supplied is an online restaurant software for supply chain management that does all the tedious but necessary work for you and makes your supply chain into something that draws customers to your door.

There’s no need to waste time ordering from multiple suppliers. You simply choose from a list of products that all go into a single basket, all from one marketplace that highlights local, sustainable merchants. It’s like a digital farmer’s market.

But that’s not all. These food-savvy folk give you all the nutritional and sustainability information from suppliers, to help you meet government regulations and the requirements of the Green Claims Code.

Unlimited farm to table recipes

With the seasonal menu changes required, Recipe Viewer Software is a wise investment for a new farm-to-table project. RVS does away with recipe books by giving ready access to hundreds of recipes, so your staff can find the necessary instructions quickly. With pictures and step by step guides, menu changes are easily facilitated. 

And while we’re talking about easy solutions…

If you really want to do yourself a favour and cut back on the time it takes you to deal with B2B payments, then

check out our elegant payment platform.

Libeo centralises every aspect of invoicing, and automates payments, reminders and every other facet of settling and receiving accounts. It works hand in hand with any accountancy software you are using, so there’s no need for you to change. Make all your payments with just one click, request bank details or chase payments effortlessly.

By saving money on invoice management, you’ll improve your cash flow and defray the cost of buying higher-cost ingredients from local farm to table suppliers.

Even if you do find yourself dealing with a plethora of local producers, Libeo makes keeping track of every transaction straightforward. What would be a nightmare on a spreadsheet is simple with Libeo. To learn more, see how Libeo users save an average of 4 days a month on invoice payments.

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Own a restaurant? try a taste of Libeo

Spend time in your kitchen, not on your bills. Pay your suppliers in one click, and save 4 days a month to be where you really want to be.

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What is another name for farm to table?

Farm to table is also known as farm to fork.

Is farm-to-table sustainable?

Promoting sustainability is one of the mains farm-to-table benefits. Local food means less fuel is needed to transport the ingredients, which benefits the environment. But also because the ingredients are acquired directly from the producer and do not pass through any intermediary.

Who started farm-to-table?

During the early 1970s, chef Alice Waters was the one who coined farm-to-table, sparking a culinary revolution. She opened Chez Panisse, a restaurant in Berkeley, California. The restaurant's menu featured fresh ingredients sourced from local farms, some of which Waters had seen while living in France.

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