Hello RFMA members,
Today's post is about vendor appreciation. With all my years in restaurant facilities, I honestly did not give much thought to thanking the contractors (vendors) who worked in our restaurants. My companies gave their yearly vendor performance awards to mostly the food, linen, or technology suppliers. We (Facilities) were normally not asked for any nominations from the vast number of contractors our department did business with. In hindsight, that was just plain wrong. Every facility professional have numerous "go-to" vendors that can be counted on, day or night, to promptly respond to any kind of emergency to keep our stores open at all costs. The vendors in restaurant facility activities know this and are prepared to react accordingly. This is not to be taken lightly. There are so many circumstances requiring vendors to be on call 24/7, be it a inoperable water heater, main grill, HVAC, broken windows and/or doors, not to mention mother nature items like hurricanes, floods, fires, etc. Even though they are paid for services rendered, sometimes an additional "thanks" is necessary. Some special ways to express it are:
- A simple hand written thank you note. Be specific on the action that warranted the note.
- Invite the vendor rep to lunch or dinner
- Provide company coupons (gift cards) for free, or discounted, meals at your restaurants. Remember, they are customers too.
- Begin a "Vendor of the Year" program within your Facilities department where a engraved trophy or some other personal item can be presented to the vendor.
- Provide a personal gift to one of the vendors employees that has been helpful. Maybe they just had a baby or some other personal milestone in their life.
- Post a social media "shout-out" to the vendor
- Bring the rep into your corporate office for a special thank you presentation. Have employees from other departments that work with them be present and add their comments.
There are numerous ways to show your appreciation. No longer are the days where decisions are based on cost only. In today's times, you truly need strong business relationships and partnering with your contractors. They are your eyes in the field and care about your stores as much as you do. Show them your thanks.
Obviously, I missed some ways of showing your gratitude. I would welcome feedback on what you, or your company, have done to show their appreciation. Please respond.
Dover and out.