Perhaps the most unanticipated effect of the current global population rise is the level of pressure it has brought on many restaurants when procuring fresh produce.

Today, for the first time in history, most people reside in urban areas. And, according to an FAO and World Bank report, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities by 2050. This trend places immense pressure on our available resources further influencing the foods we eat, when we eat, and where we eat.

Kenya is among the nations currently facing a massive food system transformation owing to urbanization. For instance, an average Kenyan today, would rather eat out, or order in, than prepare a meal from scratch. This has forced most restaurants to adjust their product procurement rates and style to suit the growing consumer demands.

However, while it may seem obvious that restaurants are set to benefit a great deal from this drift, a vast majority of restauranteurs cite several difficulties and struggles when procuring fresh produce for their establishments.

This article offers a detailed discussion of the challenges Kenyan restaurants face when sourcing fresh produce, alongside their plausible solutions.

Seasonal Climate Variability

There is a significant correlation between climate variability and the availability of fresh produce in the Kenyan markets. Most crops and vegetables in Kenya rely heavily on climatic factors for growth and productivity – with rainfall as the leading crop yield predictor. And, since Kenya experiences seasonal rainfall, dry seasons tend to cause a shortage in food supply to total unavailability of specific agricultural products in extreme cases.

If you are a procurement manager then you most probably find seasonality very limiting for the reasons mentioned above. The absence of specific food ingredients may affect a restaurant’s menu and so, most restaurants are forced to dig deeper into their pockets when procuring fresh produce in order to have a consistent menu list.

While this challenge may appear a bit hard to bypass, today, thanks to technological advancement, farmers can grow crops in and out of season. Most farmers have embraced the use of greenhouses and other advanced farming techniques like hydroponics to avoid overreliance on climatic conditions in their production. Sourcing goods from these farmers may be a sustainable option for your restaurant.

Even better, you can utilize online hubs like to easily and continually find and connect with the farmers and source fresh produce from a seller of your choice!

Procuring fresh produce
Grading of potatoes

Economic Implications

Another very recurrent discussion on the challenges faced by restauranteurs when procuring fresh produce is the financial barriers linked to the entire process. The majority of procurement officers have to incur high transport costs especially when sourcing goods over long distances.

Given this dynamic, most restaurants are naturally forced to hike the prices of some of their menu items and risk losing their regular customers. What’s intriguing, however, is that sometimes, your potentially most valuable supplier could be around the corner. And all you need is a proper networking tool to reach and maintain a business relationship with them.

Additionally, who says you have to source your goods conventionally?

Playing an active role in the entire sourcing process of your restaurant’s goods to reduce any risks of getting low-quality food products makes perfect sense, but here is another fresh perspective; integrating a separate entity to your procurement chain, that does not only take up the role and full accountability of ensuring you have quality goods delivered right to your restaurant, but also ensures a lasting relationship between your restaurant and the supplier is fostered and upheld! Brilliant, right?

Social Justice

A while back, news that a popular fast-food restaurant in Kenya does not source its raw materials locally elicited wild reactions from Kenyans. The issue became a hot topic amongst Kenyans given the restaurant’s claim that they opted to import their goods because those farmed and produced locally were not up to standard – a statement that resulted in most Kenyans boycotting the food chain.

You are probably wondering why the restaurant got this somewhat harsh reaction from the public when all they did was offer their customers quality meals out of quality products. What you may not realize, however, is that as a business entity, building a relationship with the local community as a procurement strategy is not only beneficial but also fundamentally necessary.

A recently concluded research arrived at a solid conclusion that devoting to local food by means of repeat purchases and developing a long-term farmer-restaurant relationship will not only sustain your establishment but your supplier as well. Think about it, consistently buying from a particular farm enables them to maintain production and in turn, ensures that money is kept and utilized within the community for continual development – classic win-win!

Want to start and maintain an invaluable farmer-restaurant relationship? Visit now!

Product Quality

The aim of every procurement manager is to bring in quality products sustainably. This is especially true for restaurants because the success of their business is, to a great extent, hinged on how well their customer needs are met. If your food quality is mediocre so will your customer feedback and vice versa.

Additionally, given the growing popularity of the greening movement, customers are growing more and more aware of the impact their actions have on the climate and this includes what they consume as food. This is another huge paradigm shift that a lot of restaurant procurement managers are yet to consider.

Luckily, there are online platforms that can lift this weight for you by pointing you in the direction of organic farms or providing products that are sourced sustainably. You will be amazed by the number of customers who are willing to put their money where their mouth is by paying a premium price for the high cost of organic food. Diversifying your menu to meet all your customer needs may also be helpful in this case.

To Put it Succinctly

Climate variability, Economic Implications, Social justice, and product quality are among the challenges restaurants in Kenya face when procuring fresh produce. These are procurement challenges that Kilimogram – a B2B online marketplace, actively seek to alleviate. As a skilled restauranteur, you want to ensure smooth operations within and without your restaurant. It seems to us that incorporating an efficient online tech tool that specializes in making your work easier could be your most valuable and sustainable solution!

What sourcing challenges do you experience when procuring fresh produce for your restaurant?

Do you sell or buy farm produce? Visit now and make your order or meet your buyer today!

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