Top 5 Ways You Can Adopt Localism In Your Food Business
Why Local Tastes Better And How Supporting Your Community Is Important To Your Food Business
How can supporting local vendors and community members increase moral, create momentum, and boost your business at the same time? Let’s look at five easy ways to support local while running your food business and how they can help both you and your community.
Localism is the belief that goods should be created and purchased within a local area for the benefit of people in that area. It is the “Support Small Business” movement on a higher level supporting more than just the visible brick-and-mortar storefronts.
In addition, Localism draws attention to every part of the logistics chain from the farm to the packaging design. For example, a food business with a local ethos prioritizes seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms, uses a local fabricator to build its kitchen setup, and supports community initiatives.
Supporting local suppliers and vendors should be a top priority for small food businesses. An ecosystem of community partnerships shows an investment in your neighborhood and can pay off in dividends should you need help or advice. In addition, a purchase from a local farm to fuel your menu shows personal loyalty and expresses support with your dollar to hard-working local families.
Finally, there is no stronger community than the small business community who will rally behind each other in the hardest of times and the biggest of successes. A vote with your business dollar is a vote for the community you want to see thrive.
So how can a food business adopt a localist perspective while gaining brand loyalty along the way? Let’s break down some of the ways your daily business decisions can positively impact your community and foster a sense of togetherness in your community.
Top 5 Ways You Can Adopt Localism In Your Food Business
At the end of the day, supporting locally owned businesses outside of your own creates a more vibrant community linking people in a nexus of economic and social relationships. Here are five ways you can lead the charge in localism.
- Support your local farms. Grabbing your produce or meat cuts from the farmer’s market or having a direct relationship with a local farm will not only help the quality of your menu but forge invaluable relationships with the local food system. Even if you live in a city without farms, there are ways to support the circular food economy.
When possible, pursue the most local farm possible and arrange for a group delivery among other interested food businesses. Support a locally-owned family grocer. Supporting local food growers and distributors is supporting a healthy local food ecosystem and will get your stock to you with a lighter carbon footprint as well.
2. Look for packaging supply locally. When you are a new foodtrepreneur, just starting out, it can be challenging to meet high minimum order quantities. Not only does supporting a local supplier help support local families, they might also be willing to work with you as you grow. In addition, local suppliers can put a face with a name that creates a personal connection where you are mutually invested in each other’s growth.
3. Hire local services. From the architect to the accountant, source your backend needs within your community members. You’ll likely find recommendations within your community to keep your dollars within the local working economy. This small show of support for local talent goes a long way in modeling your values.
4. Need art? Look local. While not everyone will have a sit-down restaurant that needs a mural or a food truck that needs a splashy paint job, all food businesses need a local graphic designer. Support local artists on with artwork on your walls. Use a local graphic designer to create our logo or menu. Work together with an aspiring artist or designer. Not only are they providing a service that they will then spread organically through their social media channels, but you are also helping to grow the culture in your community and an artist’s portfolio.
5. Support local sports teams and creative events. Donating to the local sports team so they can travel to a big tournament or to a local art walk night has deep and meaningly intangible value. Consider hosting a celebration for the local sports team or an open mic night for aspiring talent. Aside from supporting the people who support you, donating to these causes fosters brand loyalty.
Final Tips On Taking On a Local Approach To Your Food Business
Is it easy to take a localist approach in a competitive food community? Not always. This difficulty can be especially apparent if you are in an especially saturated large foodie-centric city, like Austin, Portland, or Seattle for instance.
Whether you are a start-up catering business, provide home delivery, or are a full-fledged cafe, there are always ways to support your local community. What you put into your neighborhood will repay you tenfold.
Start with your immediate neighborhood if you are in a bigger city where the business community is less intimate. Is your neighboring restaurant not so warm at first? Did you pull up next to a fellow food truck as the new guy and got a dose of side-eye? Kill them with kindness. Send over your signature plate of food. Be the change you want to see in your food community. Set the example for a localist approach and commit to helping other foodpreneurs, especially the ones who look as lost as you did on opening day.