8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

Woman with a whisk and mixing bowl
Photo by Raisa Kanareva / Shutterstock.com

I am not a chef. I have never owned a restaurant, and yet, some of my favorite kitchen purchases have been from restaurant supply stores.

Before I had braved one of these stores, I assumed shoppers needed some kind of food-industry ID to be allowed in. I didn’t realize that many restaurant-supply stores are open to the public.

But, based on my experience, I can guarantee you that no one will quiz you on roasting techniques before letting you in the door.

There are two main types of restaurant supply establishments. The types overlap somewhat when it comes to their products. Both are fun for everyday home cooks to visit:

  • Restaurant supply stores typically sell kitchen furniture, kitchenware, appliances and gadgets. You might find a squeeze bottle for $1 or a professional gas range priced at five figures.
  • Food-service supply stores, as others call themselves, may carry food and drinks in big, Costco-like containers as well as takeout containers, wrappers, straws, napkins and many other supplies.

Read on as I share my favorite purchases from restaurant and food-service supply stores.

1. Parchment paper

What did I ever do without parchment paper? It keeps pans clean and prevents baked goods and roasting food from sticking to the pan.

You can get a good deal at Costco, but you’ll need to buy it in rolls. For me, that means I have to rip off a sheet and wet the pan’s edges to make the paper lie flat.

Restaurant supply stores sell parchment paper in large flat sheets and in more than one size. I buy half-sheets because I don’t have chef-size pans.

2. Mixing bowls

The shiny metal mixing bowls your mom may have used back in the day don’t make cute decor, but they’re stackable, unbreakable and easy to clean. Restaurant supply stores sell them cheap, and in many sizes.

I like the bowls with nonskid silicone on the bottom. They don’t go careening off the counter if my stirring gets a little spirited.

3. Compostable takeout containers

Here’s one of my favorite items. You’re more likely to find these at a food-service supply store, but some traditional restaurant supply stores sell them, too.

Years ago, I purchased an enormous package of compostable clamshell containers — the type your favorite burger joint might give you for your leftovers.

Here’s why: Every year at Christmastime, I host a cookie swap for friends. Everyone takes home several dozen cookies. But not everyone brings a container big enough for their haul.

I set out a bunch of compostable clamshell containers at the cookie party so departing guests can take all the treats their sweet teeth can handle.

Even though I bought the clamshell containers more than five years ago, the package contained so many of them that I’m still not close to running out.

4. Barware

I enjoy an artful handmade cocktail.

Setting up a home bar can be pricey, though, especially if you’re serious about buying specialty accessories.

Restaurant supply stores sell everything you’ll need, from glassware and cocktail shakers to shot glasses. They may not be fancy, but they’re usually durable and inexpensive.

I’ll drink to that.

5. Cake and candy decorating supplies

Shhhh. Don’t tell the sweet woman who once tried teaching me cake decorating, but I never mastered the art of crafting a rose from frosting.

My talents bloomed elsewhere. I love using pastry bags, piping tips, cake stands, dipping tools and other cake-making supplies.

You’ll find elegant displays of cake and candy decorating supplies at craft stores and gourmet shops, but investigate restaurant supply stores for a different selection and better deals.

6. Cutting boards

On a restaurant supply store visit in 2019, after I’d paid, I stumbled upon an enormous rack of cutting boards. I had to double back.

I use at least one cutting board each time I cook. They come in a rainbow of colors and a variety of sizes, and they’re priced to move.

7. Baking sheets

Take a close look at your favorite cookie sheet the next time you pull it out to bake a batch of snickerdoodles. Is it getting kind of crummy? Is it time to recycle it?

Restaurant and food-service supply stores have industrial-grade baking pans of all shapes and sizes. You’ll find one that fits your oven, whether it’s enormous or so teeny the Keebler Elves could use it.

8. Fancy serving trays

Restaurant supply stores are where caterers shop, so you may find an entire aisle of silvered, scroll-embossed trays — the sort a butler might carry around Buckingham Palace.

Well, psst! Here’s a royal secret: Those pans look fancy, but they probably are chrome-plated stainless steel. They will impress your party guests without draining your bank account.

Take a few home and load them up with elegant cucumber sandwiches or down-home pigs in a blanket.

Party on, dude.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Maybe you’re not ready to leave the workplace entirely.

9 Forgotten Frugal Strategies — and How to Resurrect Them
9 Forgotten Frugal Strategies — and How to Resurrect Them

These time-tested methods can help us live smarter today.

11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference
11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference

These small money moves will pay off big in the long run.

10 Places Where Social Security Offers the Best Standard of Living
10 Places Where Social Security Offers the Best Standard of Living

These U.S. counties offer retirees a chance to stretch their benefit checks while enjoying their golden years.

This Pastime Can Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age
This Pastime Can Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age

It’s never too late to benefit from taking up this type of activity.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

Why Your Next Stimulus Check Might Be Bigger Than You Expect
Why Your Next Stimulus Check Might Be Bigger Than You Expect

Your third coronavirus payment will be the biggest yet — and possibly even bigger than you realize.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.