The Fifth habit – provenance

The fifth habit: make Quality and Value count

Whether it’s a politician pledging to lie down in front of the bulldozers, or a builder promising that they’ll be on your doorstep first thing on Monday morning, people don’t always do what they say.

The same, sadly, is true of customers when eating out. Although, surveys show that consumers say they want to eat locally produced food and drink, in practice – and especially in the current market – they will often to opt for special offers and good value rather than  pay the premium that local produce often involves.

Lynx Purchasing’s new insight guide, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Purchasing Teams’, details seven proven ways that businesses can make simple improvements to their buying, and the fifth habit says that ‘Provenance isn’t always king – quality and value are’.

That’s not to say that there aren’t sometimes very good reasons to feature a local speciality one the menu, but rather that operators need to be aware of where it genuinely adds value for the customer, and where it simply increases costs without contributing to the bottom line.

Buying local can be a positive story for the menu and great for community building, but in itself it’s not an automatic guarantee of quality or value. In addition, locally sourced products may not be any more environmentally friendly than a competitive product from further afield.

  • Always ask for product details and visit producers to see for yourself what makes their product special – as well as what makes it relevant to your menu;.
  • Conduct blind taste tests and be objective. An area could be famous for producing a certain product, such as lamb or dairy, for a good reason such as the climate, soil or years of experience, but this doesn’t mean it produces the best beef or apples too.
  • Be selective in your approach to local provenance and only choose the best quality and value for your business and customers.

Buying locally may make good business sense – but always weigh up the true cost. For example, one of our country hotel customers was keen to support a local supplier for all the fresh produce as part of menu revamp of its main restaurant, along with a rebrand of the food and  beverage offer throughout the hotel.

We carried out a price comparison and highlighted all of the fresh lines which, however local the supplier was, could not themselves have been grown or sourced locally, These included items such as lemons, pineapples, peppers and fine beans.

We suggested the hotel remain with the local supplier for locally grown seasonal specialities, such as asparagus and strawberries, but buy other lines from our recommended supplier. Acting on this advice saved the customer over £30,000 last year.

To ensure that locally sourced products come up to scratch in terms of delivering the right margin, FREE Lynx Purchasing GP App for Apple and Android devices makes calculating menu costs simple – for details, go to

Action: Don’t let buying local become an excuse for not getting the best quality and value – make local suppliers prove they are worth it.

You can download a free copy of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Purchasing Teams from our website at We’ll also be looking at the fourth effective habit, ‘all budgets are equal’,  in our next blog.

If you want to find out more about how you can tap into the experience and expertise of the   Lynx team to help you make the most of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Purchasing Teams, email us at  or call 01325 710143.

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