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The Commercial Kitchen Supplies You Need for a Perfect Kitchen

Marcel DeerAuthor

A commercial kitchen is going to run through a lot of supplies. If this is your first restaurant, you may be shocked by all the things that you need and how quickly you go through them. In fact, 52% of professionals in the business name high operating and food costs as a top challenge for restaurants. And kitchen supplies are certainly part of these costs.

But there’s a good reason why your kitchen needs so many supplies. You need to maintain the highest level of food quality and cleanliness possible to keep your customers happy. So, supplies for cooking and cleaning, storage, and safety all need to be used frequently and kept in stock.

Top Chef’s famous Tom Colicchio says, “You don’t need to have a Rolls-Royce kitchen to make a great meal.” And while that’s true, you still need the actual supplies it takes to do the cooking and cleaning necessary to keep a commercial kitchen operating smoothly. So it’s important to know what your kitchen staff needs to do their jobs right and keep turning out fantastic meals you can be proud of.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • The difference between kitchen supplies and kitchen equipment

  • All the supplies you need to run your commercial kitchen 

  • Where to buy quality commercial kitchen supplies

Ready? Let's get started. 

What is the difference between commercial kitchen supplies and commercial kitchen equipment?

A lot of people think that supplies are things that you use and throw away, while equipment is anything you keep to use again. However, most commercial kitchens use a different definition to define supplies. In a commercial kitchen, supplies are “small wares” or smaller-ticket items that have to be purchased and replaced frequently. This can include anything you use and toss immediately up to things you use for up to a year. So, for example, paper towels, storage containers, and even frying pans can all be considered supplies in a commercial kitchen since they need to be replaced frequently. 

On the other hand, commercial kitchen equipment refers to bigger items that you will have around and use for years. This can include things like mixers, cookers, fridges, ovens, microwaves, and so much more. If you’re starting out in the restaurant business and you also need to learn all about commercial kitchen equipment, check out our comprehensive restaurant equipment guide.

So supplies are the things that get used and abused and need replacing often, while equipment is the more permanent fixtures that make up your kitchen. 

What are the supplies needed in a commercial kitchen?

You might just be thinking of starting a restaurant, or maybe you’ve been in the business for a while, and now you’re thinking of upgrading and expanding your restaurant. Either way, there are a lot of supplies that you need to know about to make sure you have what you need to run your kitchen successfully. 

Knowing these items can also help you estimate the costs of start-up or expansion. We’d recommend looking at the lists below and also talking to your staff about their needs to make sure you’re not missing anything crucial from your kitchen.

1. Commercial Food Preparation Supplies 

Food prep supplies include everything your cooks need to break down raw ingredients and assemble dishes. When they wear out or break, they need to be replaced as quickly as possible, so it’s important to keep an eye on stock and have a responsible member of staff in charge of these supplies. 

Food preparation supplies can include:

  • colanders

  • strainers

  • mixing bowls

  • hand mixers

  • cooling racks

  • cutting boards

  • can openers

  • meat thermometers

  • kitchen scales

  • honing steels

2. Commercial Kitchen Utensils

Commercial kitchen utensils are the actual handheld tools that your chefs and cooks use when they’re working with ingredients and bringing them together to form dazzling dishes. High-quality knives are going to be at the top of any chef’s list, but there’s more to kitchen utensils than that. 

Here are some common commercial kitchen utensils you might need:

  • knives

  • whisks

  • spatulas

  • tongs

  • spoons

  • garlic presses

  • scoops

  • ladles

  • graters

  • slicers

3. Commercial Cookware Supplies

Commercial cookware supplies are the different vessels that your restaurant’s food gets cooked in. These pieces go on the stove, in the oven, in fryers and steamers, and even into freezers. They’re exposed to incredible heat and sudden changes in temperature, so it’s no wonder that they need to be replaced often. While these items might be used for years and even decades in a home kitchen, in a commercial kitchen, they’re often considered supplies that will wear out frequently. 

Commercial cookware supplies can include:

  • pots

  • frying pans

  • woks

  • pressure cookers

  • baking trays

  • baking pans

  • fryer baskets

  • ramekins

  • rice cookers

  • steamer trays

4.  Commercial Food Storage Supplies

What do you keep your ingredients and prepared foods in once they’re finished? Commercial food storage supplies, of course. These are the things you need to keep ingredients fresh, properly preserved, or held at the right temperature before serving. 

Commercial food storage supplies include:

  • storage containers

  • boxes

  • shelving

  • plastic wrap

  • aluminum foil

  • resealable plastic bags

  • jugs

  • glass bottles

  • labels

5. Food Safety and Cleaning Supplies

The supplies in your kitchen that you normally think about are the ones used for cleaning, sterilization, and safety. These supplies are generally used and tossed in rapid succession since they represent barriers between contaminants and your clean food and equipment. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep these food safety and cleaning supplies well-stocked at all times:

  • gloves

  • hair nets

  • aprons

  • blue towels

  • sanitizing pails

  • first aid supplies

  • cleaning supplies

  • garbage bags

  • cleaning cloths

Where to buy commercial kitchen and baking supplies 

Commercial kitchen supplies are simply a necessity for running a restaurant. At the same, looking at these lists can be daunting. There’s an awful lot you need to have to keep your kitchen running properly. Should you cut corners and buy inexpensive or even used supplies? It’s doubtful that this will help you in the long run. While second-hand equipment like ovens and cookers might stand up to the test of time, supplies are already things that might not last in your kitchen. So it’s best to shop around to find the best quality you can at the most reasonable prices. The longer things last, the fewer headaches you’ll have in rushing to replace them.

There are a lot of kitchen supply stores out there, both brick-and-mortar and online. Physical stores have the advantage of letting you touch and test their products to determine quality. However, online stores can give you more competitive prices and let you save your precious time. Some great kitchen and baking supply stores to look at online include:

Get the Commercial Kitchen Supplies You Need

The supplies your staff needs to run your kitchen can be extensive. While equipment lasts and stands up to the daily abuse a commercial kitchen dishes out, kitchen supplies are the things you need to replace and restock often. Everything from prep supplies to utensils, cookware, storage, food safety, and hygiene supplies fall into this category. They wear out, break, get lost, get stolen, and get tossed regularly, so they represent a real expense in operating your restaurant.

Plan your budget accordingly, choose reliable suppliers, and look out for deals. Ultimately, you’ll need to set aside a part of your operating budget for the commercial kitchen supplies your restaurant requires, but it’s worth it to have a well-run, organized kitchen.

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