Buying commercial restaurant furniture for your business can be a tricky gig. You want long lasting quality and durability as well as style and a personal touch that separates your establishment from the other pie takers (or pie bakers) in the field. But to do that requires a princely sum if you intend to purchase locally, or princely courage if you are looking to the eastern lands to fabricate your furnishings.
If you are the bold type when doing your buying, then let these 3 tips for buying commercial restaurant furniture from China help to guide you.
Be stingy…but not too stingy
Why go to China if you’re not trying to save dollars, right? There is nothing wrong with trying to get the best deal on your commercial restaurant furniture. But there is a trap here for those who are all-consumed by price.
I don’t need to tell you that the prices in China are significantly lower than what you will find in Australia (click here to examine Chinese producer price changes) . However, what many don’t realise (or more accurately probably just never considered) is that there is also a huge price range within China as well. And, seeing as many a restaurateur has come to China to save money, they also commonly fall into the trap of going for the cheapest product.
I remember standing on the floor with a client and the factory manager. The client had repeatedly bargained and negotiated to get the price of a sofa as low as possible. When we came to the sofa that he wanted, he looked over it and for the five zillionth time asked ‘So how much can you do this piece for?’. The factory manager replied ‘$500.’ The client shook his head and said ‘I need it for $300. I’ve seen it in other factories for $300.’
The factory manager just shrugged and said, ‘This one is $500, but I can make you a $300 one if you want.’ The message finally sunk in. Yes, you can get a sofa that looks exactly the same for a cheaper price, but it will not be EXACTLY the same where it counts.
Point: Go to China for a cheaper price, but don’t always go for the cheapest price in China.
Flexibility is key
I told a friend and factory owner in China once that I turned down an order because I wasn’t able to provide the service being requested of me. He laughed and gave me the advice, ‘Always take the order and decide after the payment if you can do it.’ I can’t say I agree with this advice but it is certainly how many factories in China operate.
If you are looking for very specific commercial restaurant furniture, China can be a bit of a gamble for the uninitiated. Be ready for things to change after you have already paid the deposit. One of the biggest things to be ready for is a delay. After placing an order, it isn’t uncommon for the factory to then tell you that they are out of a certain material or that the timeframe for them won’t be possible, even though it was all previously guaranteed.
Point: Being flexible and open to small changes is important, and always have a backup plan for delays.
Aim small, miss small
An old adage for shooting, aim small miss small. Focus on the exact point, like the center of the bulls-eye rather than just the target, and if you miss it will still be much closer to the point. This is the same for your order in China. Be very specific and even over emphasise your requirements. Highlight the essential points as best you can. Drill it in, and if it is wrong, at least it will be closer to what you want.
For example, dimensions. Just writing the table length of 2m on the order form may not get you a 2m table. But highlighting it, saying it multiple times and to multiple people involved is much more likely to get you a closer result. Don’t get me wrong, dimensions are generally not too bad in China. It is one of the things they know everyone will check, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Point: Be specific and repetitive.
In summary, buying wholesale restaurant furniture from China doesn’t have to be difficult, and can certainly save you a lot of money. The trick is to be aware and make yourself China-savvy, or find someone who already is. If you are after any other tips or information, feel free to send me an email at [email protected] or have a look at our blog 6 Tips for Dealing with Chinese Suppliers and keep an eye out for our future blogs. Happy Sourcing!
- Matthew Nagy – Co-founder and CEO of Serenity Made