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Fine Food Wholesalers is an online directory of businesses who supply food and beverages.

As a 24hr online food expo, the site is showcasing producers products 365 days a year. With a focus on representing Australian businesses Fine Food Wholesalers is a fantastic way to promote new and establish brands. For the producer it is a direct line to the purchasing manager/buyer of restaurants, cafes and the like plus to retailers all over Queensland.

Renee unearthed the magic of the directory by speaking with it’s founder, Sandi Smith.

Renee: Why did you start Fine Food Wholesalers?
Sandi: At a dinner party with friends who are involved in the food industry I discovered there was a general discontent towards participating in Expo’s. Not every small business can afford have a stand at an expo – the cost of stand itself, accommodation, flights, staff to cover the shop, promotional materials and stand design are contributing costs that make the whole venture unaffordable. So, I launched Fine Food Wholesalers in 2008. Intended to be a foodservice and retail resource centre, it was created to assist businesses with finding exciting new products.

Renee: Can the buyer order directly from the site?
Sandi: No, the website introduces foodservice and retailer buyers to new and interesting food and beverage products. They can click on the listing, get all the details of the product and then enquire directly to the producer. I recommend offering as many ways to contact you as possible. The enquiry form is hot at night and during the day enquiries tend to be more direct, i.e. via phone. We see a lot of repeat enquiries from foodservice and retailer buyers – coming back time and time again looking for new products.

Renee: What is the best benefit for the producer who lists on the site?
Sandi: Access to foodservice and food retail outlets Australia wide. You can’t sell a secret and with our our directory you have direct access to the buyer.
We have a lot of IGA store owners who really seek out local and interesting products. We also have 5 star hotels, boutique hotels, clubs, airlines, universities, hamper companies, delicatessens and so many more looking for products. We have even had a number of yachts who want to order bulk (and beautiful) food and drinks to consum at sea. We often get enquiries from charity events who need a product to use in their promotion.

A few years ago we had a large corporate order 4000 Christmas puddings. From that sort of one off thing through to a corner store who is looking for a regular supplier or a hotels, there really is such a variety of enquiries. A little while ago we had a quite a big boutique hotel who wanted to stock ALL their mini bars. It seems the possibilities are endless.

Renee: How many foodservice and food retail outlets visit your site?
Sandi: Over 20 000 are visiting the site every month (according Google Analitics). Over the last 4 years we have averaged 3.05 pages per session and 2.15 minutes per session. When people come to our site and they find us for the first time, they get excited about how big it is and how many producers are there.

Renee: How much does it cost?
Sandi: $440 per year. People frequently say to me, ‘why didn’t you tell me to sign on earlier.’ Our website has heaps (and heaps) of testimonials to this effect. I have a lot of business who can supply Australia wide and others who stipulate which area/s they are prepared to distribute to.

Multiple listings are cheaper, for example two categories listings cost $695 + with a bonus feature article in our newsletter which goes out to our data base of over 20 000. Three categories are $950 per year + a bonus feature article in our newsletter + banner ad on our home page. 90% of producers resign every year as our exposure means value for money.

Renee: Do you feel food trends impact sales?
Sandi: Every year there is a new trend in the food industry and I see a real need for businesses to be on the front foot with this. You can’t rest on you laurels, being on trend for at least one product in the range means there are more opportunities for sales. In the last few years we have had macaroons, protien balls and Kombucha. I wonder what is coming in 2018!

Renee: How do you think producers can influence sales?
Sandi: I know from experience that offering a taste test to get them into a cafe or deli so owner can gauge customer reactions without a huge commitment is effective. Give owner samples for free or even better go in a do some taste tests. It makes a huge difference. Of course, beautiful product packaging and branding attracts customers too.

Any other comments?
Sandi: The new year is a busy time with people have new mindset for business for the new year. We have a video that explains how it all works. Or if any one wants to know more they can always contact me on 0416 124 018 or pop over to the website for a look.

If you like this article you may be interested in another article about a totally different sales avenue – Amazon and how to enter this brand jungle with success.
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