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Restaurant Supply Business Idea

If you’re a pro around a kitchen, you may be interested in how to start a restaurant supply business. This type of business will stock or be able to order everything that’s needed to operate a successful restaurant.

Some supply operations may even provide certain food items, but all restaurant supply companies sell items that range from napkins to walk-in freezers.

You’ll be expected to keep up with the newest trends and technology to keep upscale restaurants coming to you for all their needs, as well as having more affordable, basic products on hand for the mom and pop restaurants.

How Do I Start A Restaurant Supply Business?

To start a restaurant supply business, you’ll need to find suppliers who can consistently meet the needs of your customers. Because you will be selling at a wholesale level, you should try to go directly to each manufacturer that manufacturers or resells restaurant supplies.

This will be a long list because you will be offering everything from the smallest item to the largest appliance. After you have a reliable supplier base, it will be time to find a location. You won’t be expected to locate in a trendy shopping mall. You’ll need a large space with economical rent – especially when you get started.

A warehouse location in an industrial area will provide plenty of space at a relatively low cost. While you should have adequate display space, utilitarian shelving will do for most items. Your customers will usually know exactly which basic items they need, but one or two demonstration areas for new items may trigger an unexpected sale.

In addition to your inventory, you’ll also need a full office with computer equipment and software to manage your business. Keep basic forms like invoices and contracts on hand. You will need a delivery service to transport large orders to your customer’s location. You can purchase your own truck and hire a driver or contract this task to another company.

Education Required For This Business

While you won’t need any special training or certification to start a restaurant supply business, experience in the restaurant business itself would be extremely helpful. You should have basic business management and retail experience as well.

As with any business venture, make sure that you acquire all of the business licenses and insurance policies that are required. If you will be supplying food items to area restaurants, you will need to have additional licenses and comply with your local health department’s rules and regulations that govern food business operations.

Keep all foods at the proper temperature and make sure that nothing expires. Food and safety inspectors will check every detail when they arrive to make sure you are in compliance. Staying in compliance takes far less effort and time than getting back into compliance!

Marketing And Selling Your Services

After you start a restaurant supply business, you will need to find customers. If your locale has a publication that is dedicated to the local restaurant trade, invest in a few ads. In addition to advertisements, direct sales could bring in business.

Be prepared to provide a price list, delivery schedule, and explain why you are better than the current supply business. Joining the local chamber of commerce or restaurant owner’s association could provide invaluable contacts.

If there’s a local trade show related to the restaurant industry, make sure that you not only attend, but that you also set up your own booth. Think about what problems the restaurants might be facing and how you can provide a solution through your restaurant supply business.

Once you’ve promised a certain level of service, make sure that you follow through to keep the customers coming back.

Growing Your Restaurant Supply Business

Once you are a successful restaurant supplier, you may think about expanding. If there is a need in a neighboring town or city, open a new location there. You may also consider selling certain items online to the general public.

A gourmet cookware store in an upscale area could be another expansion idea. If you really enjoy the restaurant business, open your own restaurant or become partners with one of your favorite customers.

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