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Cafes Tables: How to Find a Great Supplier

Aug 12, 2008
Securing a great supplier for cafe tables isn't an easy job nowadays because of all the commercial options and possible quality traps. Where can you find a great supplier to count on every time? That's a question many have asked and there are five possible ways you can start with to find your new favorite supplier.

1. Research

Researching is the one thing we hear about a lot, but not many actually do. Proper research takes from months to years, but in this case, it could take up to 3 months. What should you do during research? For starters, you must think of what you're looking for. Try this simple exercise by grabbing a pen and pencil and answer the following questions:

a) What kind of tables do I want?
b) What color am I looking for?
c) What's the height I want?
d) What's the size the table should be?
e) Do I want it ready or custom made?

Those questions are only a start. You can brainstorm further, and by answering these questions, you'll be starting your research by narrowing down what you want. Finding a great supplier is like finding a needle in a haystack, by not narrowing down your requirements, you'll be looking for that needle in the Atlantic Ocean! The next step in researching is to start matching which suppliers actually fit your set description.

2. Ask Friends

Friends are the most valuable asset, right? At least when it comes to recommending they are. People by nature are delighted to give advice or recommendation even if they make up stuff - we hope not in this case. Try inviting your friends for a cup of coffee and tell them that you're planning to get new tables, and hear what they have to say. Not only will this help you re-consider your criteria - if they have any valid arguments - but also they'll be recommending suppliers if they know any.

The tough step is actually asking your friends to give you their account in dealing this supplier. Most people tend to be vague by using words such as "good" or "bad" or "nice". Ask your friends to be specific, here are a couple of points you should ask them about:

a) Response time
b) Quality
c) Delivery time
d) Payment

Again, you can brainstorm and write down an extensive list that might help your friends convey their experience. Don't corner your friends, try to make it as normal as possible, otherwise they might feel pressured.

3. Check the Internet

The internet is an amazing source for anyone looking for great suppliers. You might wonder why that is. There are two main reasons: the abundance of directories and the ability to assess.

The first point is quite self explanatory. The internet is packed with directories for different industries; you can easily find companies by using a search engine like: Google, Yahoo, or MSN. Other useful sources include: blogs, forums, and review sites. Perhaps most useful are blogs, since bloggers are quite opinionated and give you detailed accounts of their experience with the supplier.

The second point why you should check the internet is your ability to assess a given supplier by his given website. Websites tell a lot about how professional a supplier is. If the website looks amateurish, don't expect to find professional support in the real world since most reputable suppliers earn enough money to get their websites professionally designed.

4. Check Specialized Directories & Magazines

Specialized directories, be it online or offline, are great sources to find suppliers. You can find such directories at the Bureau of Commerce or the manufacturer's union. These directories are excellent sources because they provide room for comparison between different suppliers in the same directory. Not to mention that they provide full contact information, sample photos, and sometimes coupons. Yes, coupons! You can use the coupon to get a discount from the supplier on your tables.

You can also find reviews in specialized magazines, especially design, home, and family magazines. The magazines are worth the buck you way, since these magazines will often feature and supplier, interview the CEO, and give their 2 cents on their service and products.

5. Visit Cafes in the Area

Visiting cafes in the area is what we humorously call a spying round. Walk in the area, check out cafes that have good looking tables, and then comes the hard part. Have a cup of coffee and try to strike a conversation with the owner, and then ask him about the tables. Try to do so in subtle manner, since every cafe loves to be unique. Here are a couple of sample questions you can ask that are quite subtle:

a) Your tables look great, are they custom made?
b) I love the tables, they're very comfortable. Did you get them from X (name of store)
c) Your tables are very stable, did you ask your manufacturer for extra support or were they just designed this way?
d) The tables are quite big; those must have cost an arm and a leg.

You can brainstorm before going for the walk around the block, and though some of the questions may seem quite blunt for you, for someone who doesn't know you they won't even suspect. One useful trick when asking about the supplier is to ask about other suppliers by pretending you're a cafe critic. That trick works all the time, since cafe owners are more than happy to tell the critic about their custom made tables crafted in 3 months by this excellent supplier. Whatever happens, if you're not a good actor, don't go for such a step.

Finding a great supplier may be a tough task, but it is manageable once you follow the five steps listed. Take some time off and begin your search, finding a supplier is much more important for he could become your lifetime supplier and save you several trap deals with scrupulous suppliers. Now get to work and good luck in finding that supplier!
About the Author
Mr.Nibbinsworth has been writing for Laytrad Contracts about cafe furniture and cafe chairs for several years off-line and has recently started to write online. Get a 5 year quality guarantee on all contract furniture including hotel furniture at http://www.laytrad.co.uk/
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