For over 115 years, we’ve delivered the excellence, expertise, and quality products our customers need to design successful food operations and experiences. We’ve grown to become the largest family operated distributor in North America by upholding the same business approach since 1897—being passionately committed to the people we serve. We believe in the power of good food—to bring people together and make moments special. Every product, every order and every decision we make is inspired by the people on the other side of the plate.
We partner with foodservice operations to provide the quality products and solutions our customers need to continue to drive their success. From remaining compliant with industry regulations to helping them plan their menu, we give them our best—so they can serve just that to their own customers.
Making local work for your menu
If you don’t already have local ingredients or products incorporated into your menu, you’ll want to spend some time considering your options. The current season may limit what’s available in your area, but that just gives you time to map out what to add in the future. Here are some ideas to kick off your local initiatives.
A good place to start if the local concept is completely new to your establishment is to highlight local drinks or drink ingredients. This can be the obvious things like locally-sourced craft beers, wine, cider and liquor, but could also be the rosemary sprig you use to garnish one of your cocktails. If you already have these items on your menu, then your opportunity lies in drawing attention to them, which could be done using a “local” icon that you place next to the item, bolding their name or sharing the short story of how you discovered them.
Look for local festivals and community events you can participate in. Consider being the food vendor for a local winery or brewery. Scope out the produce at your local farmer’s market and get know the growers. Offer to partner with them on a special “harvest” dining experience and create a unique menu using their crops. All of these are small, locally-focused gestures, but they can help you build customer loyalty and meaningful relationships within your community..
Make your own map
Sometimes food service operators will try to fit their local ingredients into a very limited radius. An alternative: expand this map but be transparent about doing so. Your restaurant may be based in a large city, but you could still call-out the seafood you get from 300 miles away. Keep the focus on the region and it’ll have the same impact as if you caught the fish yourself.
Share the benefits
Local food is known to help promote sustainable food practices. The food travels less and that reduces the carbon footprint. There are customers who may appreciate that knowledge and feel better about their meal choice because of it.
Source local products with us
Gordon Food Service offers a Green Leaf identifier program, a reporting system that helps our customers identify products made locally. It offers the possibility to find products in your division that are local, according to the division definition. A green leaf sign appears next to the item in our online ordering system which also allowed the users to create reports based on local purchases.
Find out more at gfs.ca/en-ca/ideas/going-local