4 Tips for Shopping at a Restaurant Supply Store

When opening a restaurant, the list of supplies and equipment you need may seem overwhelming, and when you start shopping around, you may be even more overwhelmed. You may decide to go to a restaurant supply store to look around to help you make decisions. However, seeing all of your options may make the decision-making process even harder.

The following four tips will help you when shopping at a restaurant supply store.

1. Make a list

Make a list

Start by making a list of everything you need for your restaurant. This should include everything from large kitchen equipment down to forks and knives. The more complete your list is, the more prepared you will be to go shopping. Add to the list items you want or need, but only if you can work it into the budget. Have another person review the list to see if you forgot anything. If you get good deals or shop sales, you may be able to buy more than you originally planned for.

2. Look online first

Look online first

Look online first to narrow down what you want to buy. For example, if the kitchen supply store has ten different silverware options, you can choose your two favorites online and decide when you get to the store. Go through each item on your list like cookware, pans, food prep equipment, and buffet supplies and look it up on the website for the restaurant supply store to see what your options are. You may find items you wanted that weren’t on your original list or look at items and decide you don’t need them. Write down the prices of the items you like so you can track how much money you will be spending. Be sure to track the price based on the quantity you plan to buy.

3. Go with a detailed list

Go with a detailed list

Create a new list based on what you saw online with item numbers and any other information you may need once you get to the store. You can include the items you are looking for, the item number, and the item’s price. If you can’t find the item, you’ll have the information needed to ask for help or have someone order it for you. Additionally, if you get to the store and the prices are different from those listed on the website, you can ask for help getting the correct prices. You may also discover sales at the store that weren’t listed online so that you can adjust your budget accordingly.

4. Be prepared to get everything back to your restaurant

Be prepared to get everything back to your restaurant

Look into your options before going. Whether you need to rent a truck or set up delivery, make a plan to get all of your new equipment and supplies back to your restaurant. When looking up products and prices on the website, you can check to see if they offer delivery or shipping on their items. If they do, you need to see how much those services cost to factor them into your budget. If you rent a truck, you’ll need to make sure the truck is large enough for everything you plan to buy. You’ll also need a dolly and packing blankets for more oversized items.

Going shopping for your restaurant can be enjoyable and exciting, but you have to be careful to resist impulse buying. It is critical to stick within your budget for the sake of your business. You can look at items you may need in the future, but they shouldn’t be purchased until you have room and are prepared to have them operational in the restaurant.