Procurement in Food Services: Everything you Need to Know!

Find out how to optimize your ordering process: identify your suppliers, evaluate your sales forecasts, convert your recipes into shopping lists, distribute them to orders and send them directly from Melba.

Published on 03/03/2023Sébastien Vassaux

In the restaurant business, many hours are spent preparing orders from food wholesalers and other suppliers. Find out how you can optimize your ordering processes with Melba.

The task of placing orders is complex because:

  • suppliers rarely have modern order interfaces: fax, sms, email and telephone are still the majority (95% of orders)
  • the evaluation of the quantities, to order, is complex given the fact that we rarely have the precise recipe data

With Melba, you can identify good practices to:

  • gain multiple hours of work per week
  • secure your business by recording your orders and checking their compliance upon receipt
  • allow your teams to work on tasks with higher added value

List your suppliers and purchasing costs

The first step is to centralize information about your suppliers. On the Melba interface, you can:

  • list your suppliers with their contact details
  • associate purchasing information with each item, namely the supplier, the packaging they use, the purchase cost expressed per unit of packaging or weight and the supplier's item code to simplify identification on their system

This census is also an opportunity to put the various suppliers in competition and decide on selling prices and quality levels. On Melba you can easily order the purchasing information by priority level in order to determine which ones are taken into account in the calculation of your production costs and in the automatic preparation of orders.

Evaluate your sales or production forecasts

Going through an evaluation of sales or production forecasts makes it possible to  reduce the working capital requirement  (comparable to the stock level). This will make it possible to operate in a tighter flow, without taking any risk, and to reduce immobilized cash and food waste given the product shelf-life.

Which is easier:

  1. listing the dishes on your menu and evaluating the forecast quantities of consumption on the basis of your sales history?
  2. listing hundreds of ingredients and estimated consumption quantities, then rounding them off to supplier packaging before deducting your residual stocks?

Point n ° 1 certainly! The good news is that with a well-constructed recipe database , you can automatically generate the n ° 2 shopping list.

Today, most of the cash register software can extract sales history which is very useful for order preparation. Be aware of the following which may influence your needs:

  • the usual variations in attendance during the week
  • special events (tournaments, events, etc.)
  • weather

On Melba, you can list the dishes on your menu to associate personalized quantities and consumption units.

Selection of recipes on Melba

Thanks to Melba, it's no longer necessary to perform contortions to enter your business data. Your database represents the reality of everything that is done in the kitchen and the tool takes care of the calculations and conversions. So you can:

  • put recipes within recipes
  • distinguish between gross weight and net weight (after cooking)
  • use all the units you want (piece, portion, recipe, yogurt pot, pinch, etc.)

Order with melba!

Smooth and dynamic orders, saved within your own account, in order to control and analyze your workflows a more efficient way!
Order online!

Convert your recipes to a shopping list

Armed with your sales or production forecasts, you can more accurately determine the requirements for your supplier orders.

Converting production forecasts into orderable items is what discourages most, and the most complex to do given the sophistication of cooking recipes in the professional world. Without a recipe database, it's a waste of time, you have to be satisfied with very approximate shopping lists.

Fortunately, on Melba, this conversion is done in just a click. All the items used in the recipes and sub-recipes of your templates are listed and shown in packaging units. You can then adjust these quantities before ordering!

Distribute your shopping list to your suppliers

Before placing an order, you can add the items that you traditionally order outside of the recipe database process. Save the list of the items concerned and consult there during preparation. Add, for example, condiments, liquids or packaging and hygiene items.

The list of your needs may also be revised downwards given the state of your stocks. Deduce what you have left by taking care of your supplier's delivery time, which imposes a minimum of security on you and prevents you from operating without any stock.

With a shopping list clearly establishing your needs, you can now distribute your items to different supplier orders.

On Melba, you can transform this “commissary voucher” into multiple supplier orders with one click. You can then round off the quantities to the next highest packaging unit and then send the order to obtain a purchase order, in Excel format, to send by email to the supplier.

Preparation of commissary orders.


By adopting digital tools, you can secure your business and save precious time.

Placing supplier orders is one of the most time-consuming and error-prone operations. By converting your production estimates into items to order, you will decrease your inventory and be able to allocate your cash to other items. By logging your orders, you can demand credits from your suppliers if their deliveries do not comply.

Melba is designed with the help of feedback from our hundreds of customers. In addition to the process described above, there are many micro-features to optimize your operations and simplify your daily work to allow you to devote more time to tasks with high added value.