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Get your restaurant up and running with this list of essential restaurant supplies 

Choosing the right foodservice supplies will set you up for long-term success and provide maximum comfort for your guests.

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Many restaurant owners and managers agree there are 3 focus areas of the restaurant business that demand the most attention: choosing the right supplies, saving time, and creating healthy margins. Let’s take a look at some tips for each focus area.

 

Essential restaurant supplies and equipment list

For foodservice operations, there are unique restaurant equipment and supply needs for the front and back of the house depending on the type of operation. The front of the house is where the guests experience what you have to offer, and it’s also the point of sale. The back of the house is more about utility, ensuring that the kitchen staff is able to move about freely, and have access to the right equipment and technology.

 

Dining room furniture

Dining room furniture is key, for both form and function. Dining room furniture is an important part of the restaurant experience, as the style choice is a major contributor to the aesthetic of the space—are you modern and minimal, luxurious, traditional, or rustic? Dining room furniture choices will make a big impact on the message you want to send to your guests. A list of common dining room furniture items include:

  • Dining tables, for two or four guests
  • Dining chairs
  • Barstools
  • Staff worktables
  • Waiting room seating

 

Bar supplies

Every great restaurant has a bar area for guests to enjoy a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail. Many guests also choose to dine right at the bar, either alone or with another guest as a more informal setting. It’s important to ensure that the bar area is set up for guest comfort, however they choose to enjoy this space. A list of common bar supplies include:

  • Glassware, including cocktail, beer, and wine
  • Bar utensils, including mixers, cocktail shakers, and garnishes
  • Glassware dishwasher
  • Ice machines and ice storage
  • Wine refrigerators
  • Coasters
  • Bar furniture, such as shelving and liquor storage

 

Lighting

Similar to furniture, lighting is functional, but it’s also part of your aesthetic. Based on your concept, the fixtures, and the brightness of the lighting are equally important factors. You’ll want to consider lighting that is both for environmental design, and for pure functionality (such as in kitchen pre areas. A list of common lighting supplies include:

  • Dining room ceiling lights
  • Lamps for food prep, heating, point-of-sale, and bar areas
  • Kitchen lights
  • Safety lighting, including exit signs

 

Office furniture and IT equipment

To effectively keep the operation running smoothly, restaurant managers need a space to coordinate employee schedules, order supplies, plan menus, and collaborate with vendors supplying to the restaurant. A back office space that facilitates this important work for one or more managers is an important part of space planning. A list of common office supplies include:

  • Office chairs
  • Desks
  • Desk lamps
  • File cabinets
  • Computers
  • Printers
  • IT peripherals
  • Internet connectivity components

 

Point of sale systems

Servers and bartenders alike are in the business of providing a good experience for your guests, and selling the restaurants products. Anyone in the front of the house will need access to a point of sale system and the ability to get checks to guests and collect payments. A list of common point of sale supplies include:

  • Point of sale technology / systems
  • Cash registers
  • Receipt printers
  • Guest check folios
  • Seating management for hosts

 

Janitorial and sanitation

From the kitchen, to the dining room, to the bathrooms, all areas of the restaurant need to be kept clean for the health and wellbeing of guests and staff, with unique cleaning needs for each area. A list of common restaurant cleaning supplies include:

  • Foodservice area cleaners, such as disinfectant cleaners
  • Hand soap
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Bathroom cleaners
  • Floor cleaners
  • Glass cleaners
  • Electronics cleaners

 

Commercial paper products

From the point of sale to guest comfort, paper products are a big part of the typical restaurant operation. Everything from guest checks, to management operations and restrooms, you’ll find paper products in all restaurants. A list of common restaurant paper supplies include:

  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Sanitary items
  • Tissue
  • Receipt paper
  • Foodservice parchment paper

 

Smallwares

Smallwares comprise of everything you’d typically think of for the serving of food and drinks. A list of common restaurant smallwares include:

  • Dishes
  • Foodservice prep containers
  • Food storage containers
  • Flatware, including forks, spoons, and knives
  • Service trays

 

Patio furniture

If you have a patio setting, you’ll need outdoor dining furniture, items to provide shade and shelter, and you’ll want to consider adding some greenery to make the outdoor space feel appealing and relaxing. A list of common restaurant patio supplies include:

  • Patio chairs
  • Patio tables
  • Patio umbrellas
  • Planters
  • Patio heaters

 

Commercial dishwashers

Hopefully you’ll be using these a lot with all the visitors you’ll have coming through your doors. Dishwashers for foodservice operations are heavy-duty, and there’s a range of options and sizes to consider for smallwares, flatwares, and glassware. A list of restaurant commercial dishwashers include:

  • Under-bar glassware dishwasher
  • Kitchen dishwasher
  • Manual glassware glass cleaner / sanitizer

 

Commercial refrigeration

Unless you’re in the business of serving all shelf-stable foods, you’ll likely want large-scale refrigeration both in the kitchen and behind the bar for food prep, beverage refrigeration, and to keep things frozen. A list of restaurant commercial refrigeration items include:

  • Commercial refrigerators
  • Commercial freezers
  • Wine coolers
  • Beverage coolers

 

Cooking equipment

Cooking foods for guests can take many forms, and there’s equipment available for virtually all food applications and cuisines. A list of restaurant cooking equipment items include:

  • Stovetops and cooking ranges
  • Microwaves
  • Deep fryers
  • Pots and pans
  • Mixers
  • Ovens
  • Dehydrators
  • Cooking utensils
  • Food processors
  • Storage containers
  • Cling wrap
  • Stainless steel food preparation tables
 
 

Tips for saving time and money on restaurant supplies

 

There’s two common themes that apply to all foodservice managers: Their time is best spent ensuring guests are having a great experience, and they’re always looking for ways to optimize margins. According to Investopedia, the average profit margin in the food and beverage sector is an average of 5.2%. Here are some tips to save time and optimize margins for your operation:

  1. Consolidate suppliers: Direct sales from multiple vendors isn’t the most streamlined way to source restaurant supplies and equipment. Look for a resource that has a wide selection of restaurant equipment and restaurant supplies, ranging from commercial appliances to smallwares. By consolidating purchasing into one place, you’ll not only save time, but reduce the cost of shipping and tracking multiple orders from different vendors. On Amazon Business, you’ll find over 19 million restaurant supplies, all in one place, helping you consolidate suppliers and save time.
  2. Bulk quantity and other discounts: Find a source that allows you to easily find the best price on the supplies you need, and offers bulk discounts that help you save on the restaurant supplies you buy most, reducing your overhead expenses and creating healthier profit margins. Amazon Business consolidates offers from hundreds of thousands of sellers in one place, offers bulk discounts on large orders, and Progressive Discounts that lets you unlock lower prices on eligible items your foodservice operation buys the most.
  3. Automate frequent purchases: For items that you use often, consider recurring delivery for business. For supplies like restroom supplies, dishes and glassware, shelf-stable foods, and point-of-sale, you can set a delivery schedule to eliminate the hassle of managing inventory and avoid the possibility of running out of stock. Additionally, you can create Reorder Lists that allow you to organize lists of items that you buy most frequently for quick reordering – even from a mobile device.
  4. Manage your budgets with greater visibility: With Amazon Business, you can create custom dashboards for analytics into your spending with the ability to track orders, returns, refunds, and reconciliation reporting, identify spending trends, manage budgets and drill down into categories.

 

 

How to choose the right suppliers for your business

 

Get the most value out of your budget by choosing the right supplier who can get you the right products, when you need them, at the right price. Here are some important criteria to consider:

  1. Transparency: Look for transparency when it comes to comparing prices from multiple vendors. Look for no order minimums, and the ability to access discounts for bulk ordering and for everyday discounts on the items you buy most.
  2. Delivery times: Look for suppliers that do not have long delivery times, or extensive fees to deliver. Make sure you can get what you need quickly, without high delivery costs that contribute to your overhead and reduce profitability.
  3. Flexible payments: Foodservice operations need flexible payment options to maximize cash flow. Many suppliers offer credit accounts to customers that offer flexibility and cash back options that help create healthy margins.
  4. Improved labor efficiency: Familiarity of the ordering experience reduces training needs, employees save time traveling to stores, and you can delegate purchasing while maintaining control.
  5. Scalability and communications: Choose vendors that make it possible to scale more efficiently with flexible payment options, efficient order fulfillment and tracking, and has quick and accessible customer service. Communication and collaboration between buyers and sellers is key for requesting discount opportunities to improve transparency and streamline deal-making.

 

 

Purchasing restaurant supplies for foodservice with Amazon Business

A getting started guide for buying restaurant supplies through e-commerce

 

Whether you’re just getting started in a foodservice operation, or have been in business for a long time, purchasing restaurant equipment and supplies is one of the largest investments that a foodservice business makes to get started, and for ongoing operations. In addition to financial investment, it can also be time consuming. Many foodservice operators spend hours visiting restaurant supply stores, comparing costs, visiting different locations and reviewing catalogs, and experience long shipping timeframes that often have shipping fees passed to you. If you’re a business owner or manager, you likely want to spend less time searching and ordering, and more time providing an excellent experience for your guests.

 

A foodservice business can be anything from a concession stand, to a fast-casual franchise, to a fine dining operation. One thing all foodservice operations have in common is the need to buy and furnish both the front and back of the house with the right restaurant supplies and equipment, and look to do this through a restaurant supply store. As sourcing becomes more modernized, many successful restaurant equipment suppliers are becoming sellers on online marketplaces as a low barrier-to-entry to get their products in front of foodservice customers. This means that you can now more than ever, you can leverage the growing e-commerce channel to compare and purchase what you need to keep your operation running smoothly.

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