Wholesale Restaurant Supplies: A Comprehensive Guide

October 21, 2023
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All types of restaurants use a wide variety of supplies to run their business. Whether it’s single-use cups or luxurious cloth napkins, these businesses find suppliers they can count on for their restaurant’s needs. This guide includes information about all the major wholesale restaurant supplies bought by food service establishments. We’ll also cover some of the difficulties related to buying in bulk like having limited inventory storage. In addition, we’ll discuss what businesses might benefit from bulk deliveries of these supplies.

Wholesale Cleaning Supplies and Wholesale Janitorial Supplies for Businesses

What Other Businesses Buy Wholesale Restaurant Supplies for Cleaning

  • Food service and hospitality industry. Companies from the hospitality industry can benefit by purchasing in bulk and at a wholesale price. That includes motels, resorts, AirBNB hosts, and other businesses in the hotel industry.
    Naturally, restaurants and other food service establishments need to keep impeccable hygiene at their locations and kitchens. Therefore they purchase bulk cleaning supplies.
  • Institutions. Educational, healthcare, and public institutions are among the clients of cleaning supplies distributors. As these institutions are visited by a lot of people every day, they need to be kept in properly cleaned condition in order to contain the spread of germs.
  • Cleaning companies. Businesses that offer janitorial services and cleaning services for residential homes require a lot of detergents and other cleaning products to run their business.
  • Manufacturers. Production facilities, especially the ones in the food manufacturing business have higher hygiene standards. Thus, they often buy large quantities of janitorial supplies.
  • Retailers and shopping centers. Supermarkets, malls, and other businesses that gather a lot of customers need to keep their facilities clean as well.

Commonly Purchased Cleaning and Janitorial Supplies

The cleaning products industry is one of the biggest ones in the world. Its market size is close to $250 billion worldwide. Allow us to share the main cleaning products purchased by businesses.

  1. Cleaning chemicals and detergents. Degreasers, floor cleaners, and glass cleaners are some of the popular types of detergents used by companies.
  2. Tools and equipment. Janitors and other cleaning staff members need various tools to perform their duties. Mops, vacuum cleaners, and buckets are some of the commonly purchased ones.
  3. PPE. Personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and aprons are among the commonly purchased wholesale restaurant supplies.
  4. Paper goods. Paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper are frequently purchased in large quantities by businesses in the restaurant industry.
  5. Other janitorial solutions. The term janitorial supplies includes not only detergents and cleaning equipment. Products like dispensing systems, trash solutions, floor mat cleaners, or wet floor signs can be found in the catalogs of cleaning supplies distributors.

How Are Cleaning and Janitorial Supplies Different

The two terms are often used interchangeably. However, janitorial supplies are often considered to be more professional products often bought in large quantities. These can be sanitizers, restroom supplies, carpet cleaning machines, industrial vacuum cleaners, and other professional tools and equipment.

Cleaning supplies, on the other hand, refers to products used by households. These can be detergents, mops, different types of soap, and other cleaning products.

Pros and Cons of Buying Cleaning Supplies in Bulk

There are both advantages and drawbacks to purchasing wholesale restaurant supplies. The same is true for cleaning products and solutions. Let’s see the main reasons to buy them in bulk.

  • Lower price per unit. Cost reductions related to buying in bulk are a fairly easy cost-saving measure. They are also a way for businesses that have enough storage to maximize profits.
  • As wholesale restaurant suppliers often have large catalogs with a wide variety of products, purchasing from distributors can be very convenient for businesses. 

Even though it’s often beneficial for companies to order large quantities of wholesale restaurant supplies, that can have disadvantages too.

  • Limited storage is the main reason why companies might not purchase supplies in bulk. Establishments with limited storage might prefer to buy wholesale dairy products or wholesale meat.
  • The upfront cost of buying wholesale restaurant supplies can also be a drawback to some companies. Distributors have minimum order quantities which might be bigger than the optimal order quantities.
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Wholesale Paper Goods

Frequently Purchased Paper Goods

Even though a lot of restaurants are trying to reduce the amount of paper used, it’s still a common thing purchased from wholesale restaurant suppliers. Here are some of the most used paper products.

  • Napkins. As they are one of the most used paper goods in restaurants, it’s expected that businesses will buy napkins from distributors of wholesale restaurant supplies.
  • Paper towels. They are used by bartenders and kitchen staff. Their main applications include cleaning surfaces and drying hands.
  • Cutlery and tableware. Plates and utensils can be made of paper and cardboard too. 
  • Cups and other accessories. Cups, straws, stirrers, and other single-use items are frequently used in restaurants, especially fast food chains. As commonly used items, they are purchased from distributors of wholesale restaurant supplies.
  • To-go bags and takeout containers. Online ordering is a huge part of the business of many food service establishments. They are likely to stock containers and takeout bags in large quantities. 

How Restaurants Can Use Less Paper

Paper production leads to deforestation and harms the environment. That’s why a lot of businesses are trying to reduce the amount of paper they use. Here are some easy ways to do so.

  • Reduce paper towel usage. Restaurants can invest in cloth towels for bars and kitchens. Washing them regularly is a more eco-friendly way instead of using paper towels.
  • Integrate more digital processes. Restaurant managers should embrace the current trends in the field of automation. Things like scannable QR menus and digital payments are small steps to improve the processes in restaurants and use less paper goods.
  • Paperless advertising. Paper take-out menus and flyers are still used by many food service establishments. Instead, restaurants should consider shifting their marketing efforts to digital channels such as email and social media.

Wholesale Plastic Containers

Food service businesses often partner with wholesale businesses that trade with plastic containers and other goods. That includes not only take-out containers but also single-use tableware and cutlery. Catering businesses, bakeries, and coffee shops also buy wholesale restaurant supplies, including plastic goods. 

Commonly Purchased Plastic Goods

  • To-go containers. As takeout orders and deliveries are a huge part of a restaurant’s business, food service brands often stock large quantities of takeaway food containers. They come in many sizes and forms.
  • Food storage containers. Leftovers and prepped food are often stored in plastic containers with lids.
  • Tableware and cutlery. Even though one of the restaurant industry trends is to use less single-use plastic products, plastic plates, and cutlery are still among the most purchased wholesale restaurant supplies.

How to Reduce Plastic Usage

A lot of people are aiming to reduce their plastic footprint. Therefore, they might buy products and services that have limited the use of plastic to a minimum. Ergo, reducing plastic used in a restaurant can also be used as part of the restaurant’s marketing. Here are a few steps to do so.

  1. Offer reusable options. Fast food restaurants can introduce a return scheme where customers return their reusable containers to the counter and get a money deposit back.
  2. Offer "bring your own plate" options. A lot of businesses can benefit from organizing events where customers bring their own tableware. This has the potential to create a social media buzz and increase brand awareness.
  3. Purchase in bulk. Ordering wholesale restaurant supplies itself reduces the use of plastic. For example, buying detergent in large jugs instead of bottles leads to reduced plastic pollution.
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Wholesale Linens

Linens and cloth products have various applications in restaurants. That’s why they might be bought from distributors of wholesale restaurant supplies. Let’s check out the main wholesale products offered in that category.

  • Table linens and cloth napkins. As linens are prone to wear or get damaged, restaurants might need to change them often. The same is true for cloth napkins or cloth towers used in restrooms.
  • Bed linens and blankets. Sheets, pillowcases, and blankets are essential for the hospitality industry. They must be in good condition in order to guarantee good sleep and a positive customer experience.
  • Towels. Using cloth towels instead of paper ones is one of the ways to easily reduce the amount of paper used in a restaurant.
  • Other kitchen cloth goods. Aprons, uniforms, and oven mitts are among the main cloth goods purchased by restaurants and businesses in the hospitality industry.

Wholesale Cups

Coffee shops and fast food chains use thousands of single-use cups daily. That’s why they are likely to buy these products from distributors of wholesale restaurant supplies. Disposable cups come in many sizes and shapes. 

Main Types of Cups Used by Businesses

  1. Disposable cups. They can be both plastic and paper ones. Generally speaking, plastic cups are likely to be used for cold drinks. There are plastic cups used for hot drinks made of styrofoam. Paper cups are often used for both hot and cold beverages. Both plastic and paper cups can be recyclable. Wholesale restaurant suppliers often sell not only disposable cups but also accessories like straws and lids.
  2. Ceramic cups. Their main role is as cups for hot drinks. Ceramic mugs and cups are used by casual and fine-dining places and not by fast-food restaurants.
  3. Glassware. Wine, whiskey, cocktails - these are just some of the beverages that are served in glasses. There are different types of glasses for the main wine categories. Spirits also have a designated glass type.
  4. Biodegradable cups. A major trend in the food service industry is to use cups made from biodegradable paper, bioplastic materials, or compostable materials. 

How Businesses Can Use Eco-Friendly Cups

There are a number of benefits why restaurants and other companies should introduce eco-friendly practices when it comes to cups or tableware. Here are some of the steps to do so.

  1. Evaluate the cup usage in the establishment. Look for ways to reduce it;
  2. Research eco-friendly options when buying wholesale restaurant supplies and cups. Strive to gradually switch to reusable or eco-friendly alternatives;
  3. Include your eco-friendly practices in the restaurant’s marketing materials;
  4. Educate both the staff and customers on the business’s transition to sustainable cups and tableware;
  5. Manage ways optimally by introducing a recycling program and a composting system.
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Wholesale Soap and Wholesale Sanitizer

As hospitality establishments and restaurants answer to higher hygiene standards, they purchase large quantities of soap and sanitizer for their day-to-day operations.

Different Types of Soap

  • Liquid soap. They are used both by households and companies. Businesses will often buy bulk soap in large quantities and then pour it into dispensers placed across all premises.
  • Bar soap. It’s rarely used by businesses but often used in households’ bathrooms.
  • Antibacterial soap. It’s not recommended to use it as an everyday item as it can make bacteria resistant to it. This type of soap is used in health institutions.
  • Dish soap. Its special formula breaks up grease.
  • Laundry soap. It can be in powder or liquid form. Pods are becoming trendy as well. It’s designed for washing textiles and keeping them in good condition.

Eco-Friendly Soap Options

Just like with plastic and paper goods, soap can be made in a way that is sustainable. Here are the main characteristics of soap produced in an eco-friendly manner.

  1. Made from plant-based ingredients;
  2. Contain no strong chemicals that might harm the skin;
  3. The soap is cruelty-free and is not tested on animals;
  4. The ingredients are harvested in a sustainable manner;
  5. The packaging is compostable or biodegradable.

What Is Sanitizer and What It’s Used for in Businesses?

Sanitizers are products that are used after cleaning. Their role is to kill harmful microorganisms. Sanitizers offered by distributors of wholesale restaurant supplies often contain alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Let’s examine the main applications of sanitizer in businesses.

  • Staff hygiene and hand sanitization. Kitchens, bars, and staff washrooms are often equipped with sanitizer dispensers. That way, employees can keep the high hygiene standards expected by the food service industry.
  • Customer sanitization. After the pandemic, a lot of people are using hand sanitizers daily. That’s especially true during flu seasons. That’s why institutions, retailers, and other businesses might have dispensers filled with hand sanitizer at their premises.
  • Surface sanitization. Using sanitizer minimizes the spread of diseases, one of the biggest restaurant industry risks. Businesses are required to regularly clean and sanitize their surfaces, especially the ones that are in contact with food.
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