FoodLab Preferred Vendor Guidelines


FoodLab Preferred Vendors Guidelines

Sustainability & Values Based Policies

Sustainability & Good Food
Sustainability isn't just a buzzword at FoodLab Detroit.  It's a commitment. One we take very seriously. One we expect our members to work at daily.  We are unwavering in our belief that good food means local, seasonal and knowing the people who grew it or raised it. Our belief is simple, when you place sustainability at the center of the food choices that you make each day, we can have a powerful, positive impact on people, the planet and Detroit's urban farming community.
All FoodLab Preferred Caterers will be expected to provide good food with a focus on sustainability.
What do we mean when we say “good food”?
According to the Michigan Good Food Charter (, good food is defined as:
  • Healthy - It provides nourishment and enables people to thrive

  • Green - It was produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable

  • Fair - No one along the supply chain was exploited for its creation

  • Affordable - All people have access to it

What do we mean by sustainable?

For the purposes of our catering program, our sustainability policies focus on:

  • Locally Grown & Sourced Food

  • Fresh, Healthy, Quality Food

  • Reusable or Biodegradable Dinnerware & Supplies

  • Food Waste Management

Locally Grown & Sourced
  • Expectation #1 - At least 20% of grown ingredients in your product should be locally sourced.

    • We are defining “local” as 150-mile radius from your restaurant or commercial kitchen.

Fresh, Healthy, Quality Food

  • Expectation #1- FoodLab vendors should provide organic, vegetarian, and vegan options, when available and applicable.

  • Expectation #2 - FoodLab vendors should provide a high quality product that tastes good. We expect that FoodLab vendors will:

    • Choose fresh fruits & vegetables over frozen.

    • Choose whole foods over highly processed, packaged items.

    • Strive to prepare themselves as much of the menu as possible, choosing local suppliers with like-minded values for other items.

Reusable or Biodegradable Dinnerware & Supplies
  • Expectation #1 - Any sampling cups, napkins or other disposable items must be biodegradable. No styrofoam or plastic will be used, no exceptions!   

  • Expectation #2 - All serveware should be reusable or biodegradable. This includes any platters, bowls, serving utensils, anything used to display and serve your food.

  • Expectation #3 - Items like dish soap, cleaning supplies, and paper towel/sponges should be as eco-friendly as possible. When possible, reusable dish towels and sponges is preferred.


Procedural Expectations &  Policies

Managing Your Event from Start to Finish

What procedural expectations and policies will be covered?

For the purposes of our catering program, our procedural expectations and policies focus on:

  • Vendor Fees

  • Staffing Needs

  • Display Expectations

  • Sampling Expectations

  • Day of Procedures & Policies

  • Post Event Procedures & Policies

Vendor Fees

  • Expectation #1 - All vendor fees must be paid at least two weeks in advance, no exceptions. Vendors with unpaid fees will be removed from event and replaced. .

Staffing Needs

  • Expectation #1 - If staffing is required for an event, it is the responsibility of the business owner to provide this service.

Display Expectations

  • Expectation #1 - CLEAN Your display should be organized and well stocked throughout the day. Keep things like empty boxes, empty packaging, used sample cups/utensils off your table and display surfaces.

  • Expectation #2 - CLEAR You should have your items and prices clearly marked and your display should be free of clutter.

  • Expectation #3 - CORDIAL Your display and stall/booth area should fee inviting, friendly, and courteous. Avoid aggressive language in your signage and be sure the booth staff is friendly, helpful, and welcoming.

Sampling Expectations

  • Expectation #1 - If you are providing samples, you must display a copy of your license at all times (unless you’re a Cottage Food business).

  • Expectation #2 - General Sampling Guidelines should be followed:

Day of Procedures & Policies

  • Expectation #1 - Timeliness is very important, please do not be late! We expect FoodLab vendors to be set-up on time, according to the timing requested by the event organizers.

    • We expect vendors to touch base with FoodLab point of contact or on-site host with any set-up needs/questions.

    • We expect vendors to bring any needed equipment and to factor in load-in requirements when figuring your set-up time.

    • We expect vendors will stay for the entire event, no exceptions. If you leave early, we may rescind your contract for future events.

  • Expectation #2 - Product integrity and presentation is important. Please remember that any catering done through FoodLab reflects on the FoodLab organization and community.

    • Businesses must display a copy of their license at all times, if applicable.

    • If you’re a Cottage Food Business, your items must be properly labeled or you will be asked to leave.

    • Presentation should be professional.

    • Presentation should be cohesive.

    • Bring enough supplies and product for sampling and selling. Depending on the event, supplies may include:

      • 10x10 tent with weights

      • Table(s)

      • Banner/large signage and bungees

      • Cooler (for anything cold) & ice

      • Small anti-fatigue mat

      • Barstool height chair

      • Adequate supply of your product

      • Large heavy-duty plastic bin, containing:

        • Tablecloth

        • Sign holders

        • Sample cups/containers

        • Napkins/napkin holder

        • Sampling Utensils

        • Contact cards

        • Cardholder for cards

        • Bags for customer purchases

        • Roll of paper towels

        • Food-friendly all purpose cleaner

        • Cash box w/adequate change

        • Card reader, if you accept credit

        • Notepad for customer emails

        • Extra phone charger

        • Small first aid kit

        • Hand sanitizer

        • Hand broom & dustpan

        • Trash bags & receptacle


  • Expectation #3 - Be prepared for the unexpected. FoodLab will not be bringing supplies for food vendors, it’s expected you’ll arrive prepared. Be sure to bring any supplies you may need to make a change to your display. Thes supplies may include:

    • Heavy duty tape (like duct tape)

    • Medium duty tape (like mailing tape)

    • Light duty tape (like scotch tape)

    • Scissors

    • Vinyl Rope

    • Twine

    • Blank paper

    • Markers

    • Assorted bungee cords


Post-Event Procedures & Policies

  • Expectation #1 - After each event, we’ll be sending out client surveys for feedback. We will share this information with individual vendors.

    • FoodLab reserves the right to terminate a vendor contract due to continued negative feedback from clients.