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Nick Portillo

Why You Need to Host a Food Broker Partner Summit

That’s right! It’s that time – the perfect moment to consider orchestrating a remarkable experience: inviting your broker partners to venture into your processing facilities or corporate headquarters. This is your chance to unveil the essence of what makes your company extraordinary.

When executed thoughtfully, this event holds the power to leave a lasting impact, most notably in terms of brand awareness. Imagine the profound effect of bringing your broker reps right to your doorstep, offering them a firsthand look at the heart and soul of your operations.

Beyond the finished product they’ve been promoting, they’ll now witness every intricate step that brings it to life. This is the key to answering the question, “What sets us apart from other suppliers?”

Elevating your approach to this level transcends the ordinary, propelling your company to an entirely new echelon of broker engagement. While virtual calls, market visits, and product training all play their part, nothing quite compares to the excitement that comes from knowing the inner workings of what they’re selling.

Below, you’ll find a preliminary blueprint outlining how some manufacturers structure their broker summits. It’s a guide, not a strict rulebook. Feel free to tailor it according to your vision. However, remember to keep the summit compact – no more than 2.5 days. After all, your food broker reps have their own lives, families, and commitments to return to.

Embrace this opportunity to bridge the gap between your products and the passionate individuals who champion them. Let this summit be the catalyst that turns ordinary broker relationships into extraordinary partnerships.

Broker Partner Summit Schedule

Day 1: Connection and Exploration


  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Registration and Welcome Breakfast
  • 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM: Opening Address by Company Leadership: Setting the Stage


  • 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Guided Plant Tour: Immersion in Production Processes
  • 1:45 PM – 3:15 PM: Networking Lunch: Forging Valuable Connections


  • 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Interactive Product Showcase: Hands-On Learning Experience
  • 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM: Sunset Social: Mix, Mingle, and Unwind

Day 2: Learning and Empowerment


  • 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM: Breakfast Briefing: Current Market Insights and Trends
  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM: Sales Training Workshop: Strategies for Success


  • 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM: Luncheon Keynote: Strengthening Broker-Brand Relationships
  • 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Collaborative Idea Generation Session: Igniting Innovation


  • 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Farewell Session and Closing Address: Charting Future Endeavors

Note: This dynamic 2-day agenda perfectly encapsulates a balance between intensive training, hands-on experiences, networking, and inspirational sessions. It leaves ample room for engagement, learning, and the cultivation of lasting relationships, ensuring that your broker partners leave the event invigorated and empowered to promote your products with unwavering enthusiasm.

Now, you might be pondering the burning question: “How should I cover the expenses for this broker partner summit?” Well, fret not – we’ve got you covered!

The investment for orchestrating and coordinating the immersive training, as well as hosting your team, falls under your responsibility as the manufacturer. But when it comes to travel arrangements, that’s where your ingenuity can shine. Here’s the scoop:

We highly recommend covering the travel expenses for each attending broker representative. This includes both airfare and hotel accommodations. However, we’re all about flexibility, so there’s room to tailor it to your preference. You could opt for brokers to cover their own airfare and lodging, or choose to sponsor one of the two – the decision rests in your capable hands.

Now, regarding who to invite, if it’s your inaugural venture into this exhilarating territory, we suggest inviting your broker leadership team. This approach ensures top-down endorsement and buy-in from the driving forces. As you plan subsequent summits, consider extending invitations to any new representatives that brokers have brought on board.

As for frequency, you’re in the driver’s seat. The beauty of this event lies in its impact, not its quantity. Many manufacturers opt for a rhythm of 1-2 summits annually, striking a perfect balance between engagement and practicality. Remember, quality trumps quantity – and this approach resonates perfectly with that mantra.

3 Reasons Why Foodservice Brokers Are Right for You

In the foodservice industry, a brokers are a commissioned sales force, facilitating seamless collaborations between manufacturers, distributors, and operators. This comprehensive breakdown delves into the game-changing impact of enlisting the services of a foodservice broker, unraveling 3 reasons why it can be the transformative move your business needs.

#1: They are Experts of the Foodservice Ecosystem

In the intricate world of the food industry, a foodservice broker stands as a seasoned guide, providing invaluable insights and expertise. This facet goes beyond mere culinary trends; it’s about understanding the market at its core and ensuring your business aligns with evolving consumer preferences.

Culinary Trendsetter: Foodservice brokers are not just trend followers; they are trendsetters. Armed with a deep understanding of consumer behavior and emerging culinary trends, brokers guide manufacturers in developing products that resonate with the ever-evolving palate.

Localized Expertise: Brokers bring a regional and local expertise that goes beyond data and analytics. They understand the nuances of local tastes and preferences, tailoring strategies that not only align with broader market trends but also cater to the unique demands of specific regions.

Real-Time Market Intelligence: Proactive problem-solving is at the core of a foodservice broker’s role. By anticipating challenges and providing real-time market intelligence, brokers empower businesses to make informed decisions, ensuring resilience in the face of unexpected disruptions.

#2: Seamless Supply Chain Management

Efficient supply chain management is the backbone of a thriving food business, and a foodservice broker plays a pivotal role in optimizing this intricate web of logistics. This aspect encompasses collaborative efforts with distributors, building relationships with operators, and ensuring the resilience of your supply chain in the face of challenges.

Distributor Collaboration: Brokers act as conduits of collaboration between manufacturers and distributors. Through seamless coordination, they ensure that products reach their destination efficiently, managing inventory levels to prevent both overstock and stockouts.

Operator Relationship Building: Operators are pivotal players in the foodservice industry, and brokers understand the importance of cultivating relationships with them. By understanding operator needs, offering training and education, and ensuring a smooth integration of products, brokers contribute to the success of both manufacturers and operators.

Crisis Mitigation: The ability to navigate through crises is a testament to a broker’s strategic prowess. From supply chain disruptions to unforeseen challenges, brokers engage in proactive problem-solving, implementing crisis management plans to minimize impact and maintain operational efficiency.

#3: Amplified Sales and Market Presence

The ultimate goal for any business is growth, and a foodservice broker is a strategic ally in achieving and surpassing sales and market expansion targets. This is achieved through the development of tailored sales plans, effective negotiation, and the cultivation of long-term partnerships.

Sales Strategy Development: Brokers collaborate with manufacturers to develop sales strategies that align with business goals. By tailoring plans to the unique strengths and opportunities of each brand, brokers ensure a focused and effective approach to sales.

Negotiation and Deal Closing: Negotiation is an art, and brokers are masters of the deal. They ensure optimal placements and visibility for products by negotiating contracts that create a win-win situation for manufacturers, distributors, and operators.

Relationship Cultivation: Building long-term partnerships is not just a goal for brokers; it’s a measure of success. By focusing on cultivating strong relationships with clients, brokers foster loyalty, ensuring that your brand becomes a preferred choice in the market.

Food broker bring a wealth of expertise, connections, and strategic vision to the table. The decision to hire a foodservice broker is not merely an expense but a transformative investment in growth, efficiency, and long-term success. As you contemplate the next steps for your business, consider the profound impact that a foodservice broker can have in elevating your brand and navigating the complex culinary landscape with finesse.

4 Ways Foodservice Brokers Are Structured

As manufacturers seek to thrive in this dynamic industry, understanding the different types of foodservice brokers is crucial. In this blog, we’ll unravel the diverse profiles of foodservice brokers, shedding light on their unique roles and contributions to the foodservice landscape.

Type #1: National Brokers

At the forefront of the foodservice broker spectrum are national brokers, dynamic partners equipped to navigate the complexities of the entire nation. These brokers serve as strategic allies for manufacturers aiming for a widespread market presence.

Nationwide Partnerships: National brokers forge extensive alliances with manufacturers, collaborating on a grand scale to align products with overarching brand objectives. This involves understanding the national market trends and ensuring products resonate across diverse regions.

Extensive Market Intelligence: Armed with a panoramic view of the national landscape, national brokers provide invaluable insights, guiding manufacturers in developing products that cater to a diverse consumer base. Their ability to grasp overarching culinary trends positions them as trendsetters on a national scale.

Supply Chain Optimization: National brokers optimize the supply chain on a grand scale. From distributor collaboration to strategic operator relationships, they ensure seamless operations across the nation, capitalizing on opportunities and mitigating challenges.

Type #2: Regional Brokers

Regional brokers carve out a niche within specific geographic areas, bringing localized expertise to the forefront. Their role involves tailoring strategies to resonate with the unique culinary preferences of their designated regions.

Regional Alliances: Regional brokers form strong alliances with manufacturers, focusing on the specific needs and preferences of their designated regions. This involves adapting products to align with the culinary tastes ingrained in local cultures.

In-Depth Regional Insights: Armed with in-depth knowledge of local markets, regional brokers provide nuanced insights, ensuring products are tailored to meet the culinary expectations of specific geographic areas. Their localized wisdom positions them as trusted guides within their regions.

Targeted Supply Chain Strategies: Regional brokers optimize the supply chain within their designated areas. They collaborate closely with distributors and operators, ensuring products flow seamlessly through the local market and are well-received by regional consumers.

Type #3: Local Market Brokers

Operating within the heart of communities, local market brokers bring a hyper-focused approach to foodservice brokerage. Their role involves understanding and integrating products into the fabric of the local market.

Community-Centric Alliances: Local market brokers build strong alliances with manufacturers, focusing on integrating products into the fabric of local communities. This involves understanding the unique dynamics of neighborhood markets and tailoring strategies accordingly.

Intimate Local Insights: Armed with intimate knowledge of local markets, local market brokers provide insights into community preferences. They ensure that products resonate authentically with the culinary expectations of neighborhood consumers.

Micro-Level Supply Chain Optimization: Local market brokers optimize the supply chain at a micro level, collaborating closely with neighborhood distributors and operators. Their goal is to ensure products seamlessly integrate into local markets and become staples in the community.

Type #4: Specialty Brokers

Specialty brokers carve out a niche within specific product categories or market segments, bringing targeted expertise to the forefront. Their role involves in-depth knowledge and strategic guidance within their chosen specialties.

Product Category Mastery: Specialty brokers focus on specific product categories, becoming experts in areas such as gourmet foods, organic products, or specialty ingredients. Their mastery ensures manufacturers receive tailored guidance within their chosen category.

Targeted Market Segment Focus: Some specialty brokers concentrate on specific market segments, such as healthcare, fine dining, or educational institutions. This focused approach enables them to understand the unique needs and challenges within their chosen specialty.

Tailored Strategies for Niche Markets: Specialty brokers craft strategies tailored to niche markets, ensuring that manufacturers within their chosen specialty receive targeted guidance. Their expertise allows for precise positioning and successful integration within specialized segments.

Understanding the diversity within the realm of foodservice brokers empowers businesses to make informed decisions, aligning with partners whose expertise seamlessly matches their goals and aspirations. As manufacturers embark on the culinary sales journey, these brokers stand as guides, navigating the path to success with finesse, expertise, and a deep understanding of the intricacies of their designated markets.

6 Ways to Incentivize Your Broker Sales Team

Incentivizing food brokers is the key to unlocking a harmonious partnership. Incentives drive a dash of motivation, a sprinkle of engagement – this ensures that your brokers aren’t just going through the motions, but are fully invested in stirring up success. Effective incentivization not only creates a synergy of interests but also encourages them to go above and beyond, leaving you with boosted sales and market expansion. 

Let’s do an overview on all the different incentives you can use with your broker. After describing each one, we will highlight in green (highly effective)orange (moderately effective), or red (not effective) for how each is perceived. 

Pro Tip: When structuring incentives, consider implementing quarterly payouts. Even if the incentive is designed to span a year, dividing it into four equal installments can yield significant benefits. This approach ensures that your brokers remain engaged and experience a sense of achievement every month when they receive their payout. Recognizing that a year can be a lengthy timeframe, waiting 365 days for a single payout could dampen their enthusiasm, especially as they juggle various responsibilities. To further enhance motivation, you could introduce a sliding scale. For instance, in the first quarter (Q1), they could aim to achieve 10% of the annual goal, followed by 20% in Q2, 30% in Q3, and finally, 40% in Q4. This not only ensures consistent compensation throughout the year but also maintains their focus and momentum. It’s important to note that each payout remains consistent once they hit the respective quarterly thresholds and if they miss a threshold in a single quarter, they can still make it up in the next. 

Savory Strategies for Satisfying Results:

  1. Commission Structure Increase: A well-structured commission system forms the foundation of broker incentivization. Some manufacturers go above and beyond, choosing to foster deeper partnerships. They establish growth objectives; if the broker accomplishes these goals, their brokerage rate increases, starting from the first case sold that year. To illustrate, consider a scenario: Suppose you’re compensating the broker at a 5% rate and you aim for them to elevate your business from 100 to 120 cases. Should they achieve or surpass this 120-case target, they’ll earn a 1% increase in their brokerage rate, retroactive to case one. Thus, on 120 cases sold at 5%, the total amounts to $6. By incorporating this 1% performance-based incentive, the broker, by year-end, not only receives the $6 but also an additional $1.20 for meeting the goal. This kind of incentive framework has proven to be highly effective.
  2. Placement Payout: A placement payout typically refers compensation that is provided to broker reps for successfully selling a product into a specific target or customer. For example, this could mean for every case sold in to a specific account, that broker rep receives a dollar amount per case within the promotion window. This kind of incentive framework has proven to be not effective. Many times these types incentives require the infrastructure to track how many cases that specific customer purchases and that can be laborious. Don’t position yourself in a paperwork nightmare. 
  3. Tiered Incentives: Implement a tiered system where additional payments are earned as the broker achieves higher sales volumes. For instance, let’s say you set three separate tiers based on your baseline of 100k cases sold the year prior. If they broker hits 120k cases this year, they will earn a $5k payout. If they hit 140k cases, the payout jumps to $7500. And if they hit 160k+ cases, then they earn $10k. This tiered approach not only maintains their motivation but also urges them to consistently exceed their sales targets, reaping greater rewards with each level of achievement. This kind of incentive framework has proven to be highly effective.
  4. Training and Support: When you have designated time to train your broker sales force, bring gift cards with you! $5-$100/card works great. As you lead the training, ask the broker representatives questions to ensure they are following along. Those who answer the question first and correctly, win one of the gift cards. This kind of incentive framework has proven to be moderately effective.
  5. Innovative Contests: Organize contests or challenges that encourage healthy competition among broker reps. Offer enticing rewards directly to broker reps for achievements like highest sales growth, most engaged, or most new accounts sold. This kind of incentive framework has proven to be highly effective. Here is a good example we have seen done before:
    • Within ABC Brokerage, the representative with the most tickets wins a $2500 Travel Voucher. Note: you can ask the brokerage leadership to throw in 2 PTO days too for the winning broker rep.
      • The contest is a lottery drawing. The more a broker rep sells, the more ticket entries they will have. At the conclusion of the promotion, one winner will be chosen at random.
    • How can a rep get entries in the drawing? Great question! Here are the qualifying product categories
      • Product Category #1 – 5 Tickets for every new customer sold (must sell 25+ cases in the promotion period)
      • Product Category #2 – 5 Tickets for every new customer sold (must sell 25+ cases in the promotion period)
      • Product Category #3 – 3 Tickets for every new customer sold (must sell 25+ cases in the promotion period)
      • Bonus Kicker – 10 Tickets for every new customer sold (must be 500+ cases annually)
  6. Enhanced Commission Rates for Product Categories: This incentive structure revolves around elevating broker commissions on specific product lines. These line items often hold greater profit potential or value-added features, making it advantageous to steer brokers towards securing new placements. Typically, products in this higher price range experience a slower rate of movement due to their premium nature, resulting in lower customer interest. For example, if brokers are earning 3% on total sales within your line, but they could earn 5% on a particular product category, the additional benefit might not justify the effort. When we analyze the figures, let’s consider a scenario where the broker sells $50k worth of the specialized product category annually. The difference amounts to an extra $1k per year. However, this might not be a substantial incentive compared to the potential of selling $200k worth of your lower-cost, high-demand products at the standard 3%, resulting in a more substantial commission payout. This kind of incentive framework has proven to be not effective.

9 Foodservice Communication Tools

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth

It is important to set you and your broker up for success by establishing the proper channels to communicate. Sounds simple enough right? Unfortunately, it is easier said then done.

Let’s jump in to the basics:

When managing a broker, effective communication is crucial to ensure alignment, collaboration, and success. Here are some of the best communication tools that can help you streamline communication with your broker team:

  1. Email: Email remains a staple for professional communication. Use it for formal announcements, sharing important documents, and providing updates that require documentation.
  2. Satellite ( This is a food specific platform you can use to get rid of dealing with outdated sell sheets, hunting down distributor codes, or simply wanting to engage those representing your brand. They’ve built a platform for the new era of CPG. A platform that makes your team more efficient and your partners more engaged, so you can focus on what matters most: building a lasting brand.
  3. Video Conferencing Tools: Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet are ideal for virtual meetings, presentations, and face-to-face discussions. They enable real-time communication regardless of geographical locations.
  4. Project Management Software: Tools like Asana, Trello, or can help you manage tasks, track projects, and assign responsibilities. They provide transparency and accountability for ongoing projects and sales campaigns.
  5. CRM Software: When your broker sales team interacts with customers, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help centralize customer interactions, track sales activities, and manage leads and opportunities. More on this in a future lesson.
  6. Collaboration Suites: Platforms like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Workspace provide a suite of tools for document collaboration, real-time editing, and sharing resources like spreadsheets, documents, and presentations.
  7. File Sharing Platforms: Tools like Dropbox,, Google Drive, or OneDrive are essential for your broker to have all of your marketing materials, pricing, etc. at their fingertips.
  8. Email Newsletters: Regular email newsletters can be used to provide updates, share success stories, and showcase new products or strategies.
  9. Feedback and Survey Tools: Platforms like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms can be used to collect feedback from your broker team, helping you identify areas for improvement and gather insights.

When selecting communication tools, consider the preferences of your broker team, the nature of your business, and the specific communication needs you have. Don’t just have something to have it! Make sure it is effective.

Elevating Your Broker Relationships: A Deep Dive into CRM Platforms

To achieve this, harnessing the power of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms can be a game-changer. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of requesting, analyzing, and leveraging these platforms to make more informed decisions, ultimately driving growth and success. We like growth and success, right?? 

When it comes to peering into the dynamic world of your food broker’s sales and marketing endeavors, there’s an elegant solution that’s already in play – their CRM Tool. Smooth sailing, right? Picture this: their broker leadership squad nudges them to log their calls on a weekly basis, making the process seamless and efficient.

But hold onto your aprons – here’s the twist. Not all brokers are keen on parting with that treasure trove of information. Imagine if every one of their clients requested a monthly report – it would be a paperwork nightmare! So, let’s be savvy and strategic in our approach.

We’re on a mission to fashion a setup where you receive that coveted data, briskly and without a fuss. Let’s navigate this artful dance of securing timely and accurate insights, all while sparing everyone the headache. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Step #1: Requesting CRM Data 

  • Identify Your Needs: Before you approach your food brokers for a sales call report, it’s essential to evaluate your specific requirements. Are you seeking improved communication, refined sales tracking, or a deeper insight into market trends? Or perhaps you just want to know what the heck your broker is doing? By delving into your motivations for seeking a sales call report, you can gain a clearer grasp of your objectives.

    Determining your “why” for obtaining a sales call report is a pivotal step. It provides the compass to steer your efforts in the right direction. If you’re the type who prefers occasional broker updates and won’t extensively review the reports, then receiving 1-2 reports annually might suit your style. On the other hand, if you’re deeply involved and want to be informed of every broker activity, opting for monthly reports might be your preference.

    However, a word of caution is in order: for those craving monthly or more frequent reports, it’s important to ensure that the effort aligns with the dollars spent. In simpler terms, if you’re compensating a broker with, say, $1,000 per month and the cost of their sales call averages around $400, requesting monthly reports might meet resistance. It’s not meant to cause any worry, but the financial investment needs to justify the additional administrative workload.

    Remember, when it comes to increased engagement beyond direct sales, it’s all about finding that delicate balance between the effort invested and the outcomes achieved.
  • Define Key Features: Determine the essential features you require in a sales call report. On the most basic, easy to understand side. This might include:
    • Name of the contact person
    • Title or position
    • Company name
    • Email address
    • Phone number
    • Sku # presented
    • Product description
    • Preferred Distributor
    • Comments
    • Status of the opportunity
      • Not Sold
      • Sold
      • Follow Up Required

Step #2: Analyzing Food-Specific CRM Platforms

In the world of CRM, food brokers typically use one of the following:

  • Salesforce: Leading cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that empowers businesses to manage customer interactions, sales processes, and marketing campaigns in a unified and organized manner. It offers tools for tracking leads, nurturing relationships, and driving business growth through data-driven insights.
  • Kenray: Brokers, Manufactures and Distributors wanting to have a complete supply chain management system to support industry needs that improve costs, increasing productivity, and a better fully integrated and automated customer experience.
  • Blacksmith Applications: Customer relationship management (CRM) technology that manages all your company’s contacts. This system improves relationships and grows business for food professionals. 
  • Other: You may see some brokers have a proprietary CRM system, or use a non-food specific one like Asana, Zoho, etc. 

Step #3: Leveraging Food-Specific CRM Platforms

CRM data can be used in so many different ways that are beneficial for you and your business. Let’s take a look at those benefits:

  • Data-Driven Insights: Utilize the CRM’s analytics capabilities to gain insights into sales trends, customer preferences, and market shifts. This information empowers strategic decision-making.
  • Streamlined Communication: Leverage the platform’s communication tools to maintain clear and consistent dialogue with your food brokers. This ensures everyone stays on the same page.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Collaborate seamlessly with your brokers on the CRM platform. Share information, updates, and strategies to maximize the partnership’s impact.
  • Real-Time Tracking: Stay informed about order statuses, required inventory levels, and delivery timelines in real-time. This proactive approach helps prevent disruptions and surprises.
  • Performance Assessment: Monitor broker performance using the CRM’s tracking features. Identify successful strategies and areas for improvement.

Exploring the 15 Types of Food Brokers

Now, before you dive in headfirst like a kid in a candy store, remember this: when it comes to food brokers, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Just like how you’d pair wine with cheese (or was it cheese with wine?), you need to find a food broker that pairs well with your business.

Take your time to research and evaluate different options. Look into their track record, the types of clients they’ve worked with, and the results they’ve achieved (we will dive deeper into this later). Don’t hesitate to reach out and have conversations with potential brokers. Remember, this is your business we’re talking about – it deserves a food broker that’s as uniquely awesome as you are. So, take a taste of what’s out there, trust your instincts, and choose the one that resonates with you the most.

Here are all the different types of food brokers:

  1. Retail Food Brokers: These brokers work with manufacturers to get products onto the shelves of grocery stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores. They focus on consumer-packaged goods and ensure products are well-positioned and promoted in retail environments.
  2. Foodservice Brokers: Foodservice brokers collaborate with manufacturers to place products in restaurants, cafes, hotels, and other food establishments. They help connect food producers with chefs, menu planners, and foodservice operators.
  3. Specialty/Natural Food Brokers: These brokers specialize in niche or specialty foods, such as organic, gourmet, artisanal, or health-conscious products. They cater to specific markets seeking unique and high-quality offerings.
  4. Convenient Store Brokers: Focuses on helping manufacturers get their products into convenience stores. Convenience store brokers act as intermediaries between manufacturers and convenience store operators to facilitate the placement, promotion, and sales of products in these retail outlets.
  5. Ingredient Brokers: Ingredient brokers work with manufacturers of food ingredients, such as spices, flavorings, additives, and raw materials. They connect these ingredients to food producers who use them in their products.
  6. Ethnic Food Brokers: Focused on diverse cuisines, ethnic food brokers assist manufacturers in distributing products that cater to specific cultural or regional markets.
  7. Bakery and Snack Brokers: These brokers specialize in baked goods, snacks, and confectionery products. They help manufacturers place their products in retail and foodservice settings.
  8. Beverage Brokers: Beverage brokers assist in getting beverages, such as juices, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and specialty drinks, into various distribution channels.
  9. Frozen Food Brokers: These brokers concentrate on frozen food products, ensuring they reach both retail freezers and foodservice establishments.
  10. Seafood Brokers: Seafood brokers work with seafood producers to connect their products with restaurants, seafood markets, and retailers.
  11. Private Label Brokers: These brokers assist retailers or private-label brands in developing and sourcing their own branded products.
  12. Health and Wellness Brokers: Focused on health-conscious products, these brokers work with manufacturers of products catering to dietary restrictions, organic options, and other health-related trends.
  13. Import/Export Brokers: These brokers specialize in facilitating the import and export of food products between different countries, ensuring compliance with regulations and efficient cross-border trade.
  14. Bulk Ingredient Brokers: Specializing in bulk quantities, these brokers help manufacturers source large quantities of ingredients used in food production.
  15. Equipment and Supplies Brokers: These brokers connect food producers with equipment and supplies needed for food production, packaging, and processing.

Now, you may be thinking, “well this is overwhelming! How am I supposed to choose?” Great question. We will get in to this next (I promise!). Before we do, let’s go another step deeper on the different types of brokers. 

Of the broker types listed above, there are different sizes within each to consider:

  • National Brokers – Large, nationwide organizations that cover every market.
    • Should I partner with them?: If you are looking for scale, minimal points of contact, information technology, and sheer size of sales force, then they may be a fit for you.
    • Why shouldn’t I partner with them?: They will have a large clientele. Depending on the size of your current business, you may not get the specialized attention you are looking for. They may also have some markets that perform well and others that do not.
  • Regional Brokers – Region specific organizations.
    • Should I partner with them?: If you are looking for scale, minimal points of contact, and a medium size sales force all in one specific region, then they may be a fit for you. 
    • Why shouldn’t I partner with them?: They could have a large clientele. Depending on the size of your current business, you may not get the specialized attention you are looking for. If you are looking for coverage outside of their region, you will need to find other broker partners to support your business too. 
  • Local Market/Boutique Brokers – Organizations focused on one market only.
    • Should I partner with them?: If you are looking for more individualized attention, entrepreneurial spirit and well plugged in to a specific market/state, then they may be a fit for you. 
    • Why shouldn’t I partner with them?: They could have a smaller team, less sophisticated information technology, and only facilitate in one market requiring you to hire other brokers elsewhere.  

How to Craft a Food Broker Contract: Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create the necessary legal documentation:

Step 1: Research and Understand Food Broker Agreements

Before you start scribbling legal symphonies, make sure you’re not lost in the woods of legalese. A food broker agreement outlines the terms and conditions of your working relationship with the broker, including responsibilities, compensation, termination clauses, and confidentiality terms. 

Step 2: Identify Key Parties

Identify the parties involved in the agreement: your business (the supplier/manufacturer) and the food broker. Include their legal names, addresses, and contact information.

Step 3: Determine Agreement Terms

Decide on the key terms of the agreement, including:

  1. Duration: Specify the length of the agreement (e.g., one year) and any renewal terms.
  2. Territory: Define the geographical area where the food broker will represent your products.
  3. Products: Clearly list the products that the food broker will be responsible for promoting and selling.
  4. Compensation: Define how the food broker will be compensated – typically a percentage of sales or a retainer fee. Include details about commission payment frequency.
  5. Termination: Outline the conditions under which either party can terminate the agreement, along with notice periods.
  6. Confidentiality: Establish the extent to which the food broker can disclose confidential information about your products or processes.
  7. Responsibilities: Clearly define the responsibilities of both parties, including marketing, sales, order processing, and reporting.

Step 4: Draft the Food Broker Agreement

Now that you have a clear understanding of the terms, you can begin drafting the actual agreement. While it’s advisable to consult a legal professional, you can use the following structure as a starting point:

  1. Introduction: Include the names and details of the parties involved, the effective date, and a brief overview of the agreement’s purpose.
  2. Recitals: Provide a background and context for the agreement, highlighting the reasons for the partnership.
  3. Terms and Conditions: Detail the key terms discussed earlier in the document.
  4. Representations and Warranties: Both parties should outline their respective assurances about their capabilities and authority to enter into the agreement.
  5. Compensation: Clearly state the commission or fee structure, payment terms, and any relevant calculations.
  6. Responsibilities and Obligations: Define the specific duties and obligations of each party, including marketing strategies, sales targets, and reporting requirements.
  7. Confidentiality: Highlight the importance of keeping sensitive information confidential and outline the consequences of breaches.
  8. Intellectual Property: Clarify ownership rights to any intellectual property related to the products.
  9. Termination: Explain the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated, including notice periods and any associated penalties.
  10. Exclusions: There may be customers that you do not want to pay the broker on. Make sure those are agreed upon ahead of time and clearly expressed within the agreement.
  11. Indemnification: Specify the responsibilities of each party in case of legal claims or disputes related to the products.
  12. Governing Law and Dispute Resolution: State the jurisdiction whose laws will govern the agreement and outline the process for resolving disputes.
  13. Amendments: Explain how modifications to the agreement will be made and documented.
  14. Entire Agreement: Clarify that the agreement constitutes the entire understanding between the parties, superseding any prior agreements.
  15. Signatures: Leave spaces for both parties to sign and date the agreement.

Step 5: Review and Legal Consultation

Alright, so now that you’ve got that food broker agreement on paper, it’s time for a bit of quality control. Take a good, long look at it. But here’s the insider tip: don’t just rely on your own eyes. Let a legal expert take a bite – or rather, a thorough review – to make sure all the legalese is just right and it’s in sync with what’s best for your business. You wouldn’t send a dish out to customers without a taste test, right? So, give your agreement the legal equivalent of a taste test with a legal professional.

Step 6: Execution and Distribution

So, once you’ve added those legal tweaks and twists based on the legal expert’s advice, it’s time to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – and get those signatures down. 

And hey, once you sign it, don’t just keep it to yourself! Everyone who’s part of this culinary collaboration needs their own copy. You know what they say – sharing is caring. Ensure that you keep an official copy on file and that the broker has an official copy as well so they too can keep it on file. 

Now, here’s a heads-up: the law isn’t a one-size-fits-all apron. Different places have different rules, just like how recipes change from region to region. That’s why it’s a smart move to call in a legal professional – especially one who’s experienced in cooking up agreements for the food industry. They’ll help you make sure your food broker agreement is sealed tight.

So, you’ve got options. again, just always make sure to review the fine print! Oh yeah, and just because a contract is very favorable for you, doesn’t mean it’ll be favorable for the broker. Remember this a mutual partnership and both parties need to feel good about the agreement in place. 

How To Scale Your Sampling Process

Importance of Samples for Your Food Broker:

  1. Tangible Experience: Samples allow brokers to experience your product firsthand, helping them understand its taste, texture, and quality. This personal encounter enables them to speak about the product more authentically to potential buyers.
  2. Product Familiarity: Brokers need to be well-versed in your product’s attributes. Sampling ensures they can answer questions, address concerns, and share the product’s unique selling points accurately.
  3. Effective Selling: Brokers armed with samples can conduct cuttings, demonstrations, and tastings that resonate with decision makers. A delicious sample can sway decisions in your favor.
  4. Confidence Boost: Providing samples builds your broker’s confidence in your product, enhancing their enthusiasm to represent it passionately.
  5. Networking Advantage: Samples can be used to create networking opportunities, whether at trade shows, events, or meetings. Sharing samples sparks conversations and engagement.

Navigating the process of delivering samples to your broker can be both costly and challenging if not executed correctly.

To streamline this, it’s imperative that all broker samples are accompanied by a duly completed Sample Request Form. By ensuring brokers furnish a comprehensive form, you maintain a meticulous record of all products and facilitate accurate shipping.

Feeling a bit unfamiliar with Sample Request Forms? No worries at all. To ease your way, we’ve included a sample form as an illustration within this lesson.

Once that Sample Request Form is submitted and approved, let’s look at ways to get the samples to your broker. 

Best Way to Get Samples to Your Broker:

  1. National Couriers: Send your delectable food samples with confidence using trusted shipping services like UPS or FedEx. Careful as this could also be a costly solution.
  2. Regional Couriers: Utilizing a regional courier like GLS offers localized expertise and efficient delivery solutions within a specific geographic area. They can be more aggressive on cost, regardless of frozen or ambient delivery. 
  3. Same Day Courier Service: Same-day courier services provide swift and immediate delivery, ensuring time-sensitive items reach their destinations promptly and efficiently. The downsides of a same-day courier service can include higher costs compared to standard shipping options and potential limitations in availability depending on the service area and time constraints.
  4. DOT Foods: For those that are stocked in DOT, utilizing DOT Foods for delivering your samples offers the advantage of a reliable and specialized distribution network, ensuring efficient and safe transportation of your products.
  5. Broker Pickup: While not feasible for all broker partners, those located in proximity to your production facility might have the option to personally drive and collect their samples.
  6. Distributor Will-Call: Depending on your distribution setup, your broker might have the opportunity to retrieve samples from distributors already purchasing your products. In some cases, distributors may even accommodate sample cases within broker orders for convenient pickup.
  7. Grocery Store Purchase: Brokers might find themselves in a time crunch and could conveniently purchase your products from local retailers for sampling. To facilitate this, consider providing them with coupons for complimentary product access.
  8. IBI Data by Ryan Group: This is a hands-on solution equipped to handle dry, frozen and refrigerated samples. They house your products in their AIB Superior Food Safety Rated facility and deliver them directly to your broker in a cost efficient way. 
  9. Taste Specific: Introducing a tailor-made fulfillment and management program exclusively catering to food companies. They’ll craft well-organized sample kits, ensuring your brokers receive samples conveniently and with utmost ease.

How To Scorecard and Review Your Broker’s Performance

Two key pillars within this realm are monthly scorecarding and year-end reviews. These strategic tools not only illuminate the path to success but also empower manufacturers like you to optimize their strategies, grow sales, and foster continuous improvement. 

Monthly Scorecarding: Illuminating the Path to Excellence

Scorecarding is more than just a compilation of numbers; it’s a compass that aligns business objectives with tangible metrics, steering organizations toward their goals. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Data-Driven Decision Making – By quantifying key performance indicators (KPIs) and tracking them consistently, scorecards provide actionable insights that guide informed decision-making. Data-backed strategies lead to effective resource allocation, optimized processes, and the ability to seize emerging opportunities.
  2. Alignment and Accountability – Scorecards offer a panoramic view of broker and market performance, promoting alignment with organizational goals. This transparency fosters accountability, as brokers recognize their roles in driving collective success.
  3. Continuous Improvement – Regularly assessing metrics triggers a culture of continuous improvement. By identifying areas of underperformance, businesses can fine-tune strategies, implement corrective actions, and create a perpetual cycle of growth.
  4. Cadence – Finding the ideal tempo for updating your food broker partners is crucial for a harmonious partnership. We advocate for a monthly rhythm, although adapting to quarterly updates based on your resources is a valid alternative. Monthly tracking keeps everyone aligned with the yearly KPIs, fostering focused collaboration. If quarterly suits better, it strikes a balance between pace and precision. Whichever you choose, consistent communication orchestrates success.

Year-End Reviews: Reflection and Refinement

As the year draws to a close, the year-end review emerges as a pivotal event. It’s not merely a summary; it’s an opportunity for introspection, celebration, and recalibration.

  • Step #1: Celebration of Milestones – You and your broker should both come to the table with the significant wins from the year to review. 
  • Step #2: Yearly KPI’s Recap – During your year-end review with your broker, have prepared how they did against all of the KPI’s you laid out for them during objective building at the beginning of the year
  • Step #3Goal Setting and Strategy Tweaks – Year-end reviews pave the way for setting new objectives and refining strategies. Lessons learned from the previous year shape the trajectory for the upcoming year, ensuring continuous alignment with evolving goals.

Showcasing Excellence: The Ultimate Guide to Food Show Set-Up

Let’s get a baseline how food brokers typically manage food shows:

Step#1: Pre-Event Planning

  • Vendor Selection: Food brokers work with their clients to identify which products will be featured at the food show. They select products that align with the target audience’s preferences and if the show is hosted by a distributor, then they will showcase what is stocked.
  • Event Logistics: Brokers coordinate logistics such as booth size, location, and design. They ensure that the booth layout is visually appealing and strategically positioned for maximum visibility.
  • Promotions: Brokers create marketing materials, such as banners, brochures, etc. to effectively showcase the products. They also develop promotional strategies to attract attendees to the booth.

Step #2: Coordination with Clients

  • Product Presentation: Food brokers work closely with their clients to develop compelling product presentations and menu ideations. They highlight key features, benefits, and unique selling points to engage attendees.
  • Samples: Well in advance of the show, brokers will work with the manufacturer to ensure they have plenty of samples available. 
  • Training: Brokers ensure that their team staffing the booth are well-trained on the products, their benefits, and how to address potential customer inquiries.

Step #3: Event Execution

  • Booth Management: On the day of the food show, brokers oversee the setup of the booth, ensuring that all products are properly displayed and presented attractively.
  • Engagement: Brokers actively engage with attendees, provide product information, offer samples, and answer questions. They create a positive and memorable experience for potential customers.

Step #4: Networking

  • Industry Connections: Brokers leverage food shows to build and strengthen relationships with key players in the industry, such as distributors, retailers, and foodservice operators. They engage in networking to explore potential partnerships and collaborations.

Step #5: Market Insights

  • Competitor Analysis: While at the food show, brokers gather valuable insights on competitors’ products and strategies. This information helps their clients refine their own product offerings and positioning.
  • Customer Feedback: Brokers collect feedback from attendees, which can provide valuable insights into market preferences and trends.

Step #6: Post-Event Follow-Up

  • Lead Generation: After the food show, brokers follow up with potential customers who showed interest in the products. They nurture these leads and work to convert them into actual sales.
  • Client Debrief: Brokers communicate with their clients about the results of the food show, including feedback received, leads generated, and any new business opportunities identified.

Phew! Glad we got that out of the way. 

Never done a food show or need a refresher on how to run them? Now you have the basics on how to make them successful.

Allow your broker to run the show, but be there when they need your guidance. They will most likely be setting up multiple booths or even multiple food shows on the same day, so coordination is key.

Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Foodservice POS

Whether you’re unveiling a brand-new product or spotlighting your core product line, let’s learn how to put together Point-of-Sale (POS) sheets.

Insider Insight: Sales vs. Marketing. Sales professionals nurture customer relationships for revenue, while marketers craft brand visibility. Here’s the deal: POS creation? That’s marketing’s forte! Don’t have a marketing team? No worries, tap into Taste Specific’s expertise. They’re your go-to pros for all things food company marketing materials.

For those who want to build out your marketing materials in house, your POS needs to include the following:

Step #1: Season with Sizzle and Snap

  • Mouthwatering Hooks: Start with a headline that’s hotter than a jalapeño pepper. Make it catchy and unforgettable – the kind of thing your readers can’t help but crave.
  • Photo Resolution: Your POS must have high-res product photos. Let the pictures do the talking! Low-res images won’t captivate; we’re aiming to dazzle! 

Step #2: Spice Up the Description

  • Craft Magnetic Copy: Your POS verbiage should captivate, addressing the decision-maker directly. Tease flavors, ingredients, and how your product aligns with their operation. Embrace product features and benefits—shine a spotlight. Remember, it needs to tell a story!
  • Culinary Creativity: Inspire with imaginative ways to savor your creation. Propose pairings, recipes, and tips that ignite culinary creativity.

Step #3: Ingredients and Nutrition

  • Honest-to-Goodness Transparency: Spell out your ingredients, with a spotlight on allergens or dietary benefits. Nutritional info? Yeah, that’s part of the package, too.

Step #4: Flavorful Facts to Savor

  • Bragging Rights: If your product’s won awards, shout it from the digital rooftops. Slap those badges on there – it’s like a gold star for your product’s awesomeness.
  • Certified Goodness: If your creation’s organic, non-GMO, or has any special certifications, let it shine.
  • Pack Size: Include on your POS what size packages your product comes in. The decision maker will ask about it anyway. Why not put it on there?

Step #5: Dish Up Delicious Design

  • Visual Flavor Fusion: Keep things aligned with your brand’s look. Colors, fonts, images – they should all align with your brand message.
  • Zen of Zenith Layout: Organize things logically, leaving room to breathe. Nobody likes a crowded plate.

Step #6: Serve Digital or Print on a Platter:

  • Print Layout: If you’re going old-school print, make sure your images are sharp, and the paper stock is thick and glossy.
  • Digital Flair: For digital versions (PDFs or online goodies), optimize the file size to be shared via email. Attachments that are too large won’t be able to send and it will be frustrating. 
  • Clickable: If digital’s your jam, add clickable links to your website, social media, or online ordering – all the stuff that keeps ’em engaged.

In the delightful kitchen of food product marketing, a sell sheet that’s got the perfect blend of wit, flavor, and pizzazz is your pièce de résistance. It’s the trailer to your culinary blockbuster, the teaser that leaves folks clamoring for the main event. So, whip out your creative chef’s hat, sprinkle these ingredients with pizzazz, and watch as your sell sheet becomes the must-have appetizer to your gastronomic feast. Bon appétit, savvy marketer!