Buying expert to chains: have ‘close communication’ with suppliers to avoid Christmas shortages

Lynx Purchasing is also calling for keeping menu descriptions flexible.

Hospitality operators can avoid unexpected food and drink shortages this Christmas by having better buying discipline and close communication with suppliers, buying expert Lynx Purchasing said.

"The challenge in the supply chain currently as that as soon as one gap is plugged, another one opens somewhere else," Lynx Purchasing managing director Rachel Dobson said.. "For example, there were fears of a turkey shortage as British producers deal with labour shortages and the problems with CO² supply, but it now looks like suppliers will be able to meet demand through imports.”

"However, there are similar issues facing producers of beef, pork, salmon and other staples of festive menus, and it's not always clear exactly where and when shortages will become an issue,” she added.

Specifically, Lynx Purchasing told operators to keep talking to suppliers so there are “no sudden surprises” in terms of demand or availability, ensuring that core ingredients are in freezers and dry stores, ordering early and during mornings to give suppliers a better chance to fulfill demand.

"Sadly, this is not going to be the best Christmas for operators who like to use particular cuts in dishes or highlight provenance on their menus. The best advice currently is to keep descriptions flexible, whether it's the dish of the day or the house wine, and work with suppliers to get the best, in terms of quality and value, from what's available,” Dobson added.

"Forecasting is always a challenge, and especially when many customers are cautious about committing to spending, but the sooner operators can confirm orders, the easier it will be for suppliers to meet demand." 

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