Top 9 US Restaurant Supply Stores
One of the hardest and most important things about owning and running a restaurant is the researching and buying of equipment and supplies. In addition to finding the best prices, you also have to consider what types of equipment your menu demands, the size of the kitchen, the diameter of the gas lines, voltage requirements, and floor drain placement among many other things.
Kitchen equipment is usually one of the highest costs when opening a restaurant. From ranges, ovens, and exhaust hoods to refrigeration and freezer units, buying large equipment is a huge and sometimes scary moment.
Most of the larger retailers usually offer a “floor model” or “scratch and dent” discount, which can reduce your overall costs dramatically! Many of the larger companies will also consult with you to make sure you choose the right equipment and supplies for your space.
Substantial research is needed before you can commit to purchasing, but once you do decide what to order for your restaurant, there are myriad companies to choose from. From giant, one-stop shops like Webstaurant and KaTom to ultra-specific outlets like Korin and Cocktail Kingdom, finding the right supply company for the needs of your restaurant is easier than ever.
Choose one of these companies and you can outfit an entire restaurant, top to bottom, without opening another browser window. From large equipment like cooking ranges and exhaust hoods to smallwares, tableware, silver, and paper and chemical products, these large retailers offer everything you need to get your restaurant up and running. Some of these companies even sell food products such as spices, oils, and frozen or canned meats and vegetables.
Launched in 2004, Webstaurant has become the largest online distributor of restaurant supplies and equipment. It offers restaurant equipment, refrigeration, smallwares, storage and transport items, tableware, disposables, furniture, flatware, and janitorial and chemical supplies.
In addition to all of that, Webstaurant also offers many shelf-stable food items like spices and oils as well as perishables such as meat and dairy products. All perishable items are shipped in dry ice to preserve their freshness and integrity.
Webstaurant also offers a membership program called WebstaurantPlus. For $99 per month, you get unlimited free shipping for 195,000 qualified items. For restaurant owners that order product several times a month, this program can reduce your costs dramatically. For further cost-reduction, Webstaurant also has a “scratch & dent” outlet full of items that were slightly damaged during shipping. This is a great option for buying new equipment on a tight budget.
2. Restaurant Depot
Restaurant Depot is a bit like a Sam’s Club or Costco for commercial restaurants. Opened in 1990, Restaurant Depot is a membership-only foodservice supplier. While membership is free, you do have to provide a valid business license or tax-exempt certificate to gain membership. Once you gain membership, you will have access to 130 locations nationwide as well as online ordering.
Restaurant Depot offers kitchen and dining room equipment and smallwares, tableware and flatware, as well as fresh and shelf-stable food products. In addition to food and equipment, Restaurant Depot also sells apparel and POS systems.
Based in Tennessee, KaTom has been in the restaurant supply business for over 30 years. They offer eight categories of product: restaurant equipment, kitchen supplies, flatware and serveware, cleaning & janitorial, restaurant furniture, disposables, and shelves and carts. With fast shipping and financing available for large purchases, KaTom is a great choice for buying restaurant supplies whether you are a first-time buyer or seasoned restaurateur.
What sets KaTom apart from the rest is the Learning Center section of their website. From buying guides and equipment tips to in-depth brand profiles and industry information, there is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips all for free.
While you may not think Amazon as an outlet for restaurant equipment, the world’s largest retailer offers an extensive selection of restaurant supplies. In fact, Amazon has a dedicated page just for restaurant equipment and supplies.
Cookware, appliances, furniture, serveware, and storage products are just some of the products Amazon offers. While nearly all of your purchases come with the included Amazon Prime free shipping (if you are a member), some larger items may not qualify, especially if the item is not sold by Amazon.
For more than 35 years, CKitchen has been providing quality equipment and supplies to all kinds of foodservice operations. With a catalogue of more than 50,000 items ranging from industrial and commercial equipment, disposables and janitorial supplies, and kitchen essentials, CKitchen is another great choice when shopping for restaurant supplies.
CKitchen also offers a wide variety of options for help with kitchen design and other questions, if needed. If you still need a reason to shop here, CKitchen offers free shipping for all orders, and ten percent of all profits go to charity!
If you are opening a new restaurant, sometimes you need to buy from a specific company for very specific reasons. While the major retailers and one-stop shops carry almost everything, there may be some items that are better coming from a specialty store.
Looking for the best bar tools to outfit your new cocktail bar? Need top-quality tools for the kitchen? Maybe you need a konro grill for your Japanese izakaya? These shops are what you’re looking for.
Need anything related to Japanese cooking or service? Korin is for you. Established in 1982 in New York City, Korin has been the chef’s go-to source for Japanese knives, cooking utensils and equipment, and service and barware.
Korin is home to the largest selection of Japanese knives in the world, including Japan. They also offer a wide variety of kitchen tools and appliances, tableware and barware, and the finest sharpening stones on the market. If you happen to be local to NYC, Korin also offers several educational classes as well, ranging from knife upkeep and sharpening to using ramen noodle machines.
7. Cocktail Kingdom
Also located in New York City, Cocktail Kingdom is the world’s premier destination for the finest bar tools on the market. Designed by bartenders for bartenders, the products sold here are top of the range and built to last. With tins, mixing glasses, jiggers, bar spoons, and everything in-between that a cocktail bar would need, Cocktail Kingdom also offers choice of finish for most metal products.
And there’s a ten percent industry discount if you email them with proof of being a working bartender or bar owner.
8. JB Prince
For over 45 years, JB Prince has been providing top-of-the-line tools and equipment to chefs all over the world. From cooking tools and small appliances, baking and pastry supplies, plates, and apparel, you would be hard-pressed not to find what you need at JB Prince.
With great prices, fast shipping, and an incredible selection, there may not be a better place on Earth to buy kitchen tools.
9. Specialty Bottle
Specialty Bottle is a supplier of plastic, glass, and metal bottles and containers. For a bar, the 16-ounce glass “Boston Round” bottles are essential. Commonly referred to as a “cheater bottle,” these fit a pour spout perfectly and can be used to hold juices or syrups. They also come with screw-tops for storage. With two distribution centers, shipping is always fast.