Top Restaurant Suppliers

To start a restaurant, you must purchase both food and equipment from a supplier. Discover average costs and how to find restaurant suppliers.

Starting a restaurant is a difficult process because there are so many overhead costs. With other businesses, you can gradually update your equipment as your business grows. While this still happens with restaurants, you require the bulk of your kitchen equipment and food supplies available right at the beginning. Many restaurant owners take out loans solely for supplying their restaurant in the beginning years. Fortunately, restaurant equipment is built to last. Even with heavy use, you can use the same equipment for years.

There are also several ways you can save on costs. If you do not want to buy equipment outright, you can instead lease items from restaurant suppliers. Restaurant suppliers are specialized sellers that sell kitchen equipment, including food supplies. In addition to leasing from suppliers, you can also look for suppliers that sell used equipment. When you are buying food, a good way to save on costs is purchasing in bulk. Listed below are the common items you need for your kitchen and some of the best restaurant suppliers.


With a few niche exceptions, all restaurants need an oven. Ovens are expensive, but because it is such a crucial piece of equipment, you do not want to skimp on costs. If you are just starting your restaurant, it is okay to buy a basic oven, which costs around $1,500 to $3,000 based on the supplier. As your restaurant grows, it is worth investing in a better oven. The higher end models typically cost between $7,500 to $10,000.

The cost of your oven is largely determined by the size and type. There are two types of ovens, electric and gas. The majority of restaurants use electric ovens. The base costs for electric ovens is typically less, but you can save some money with a gas oven due to lower utility costs. Unlike a basic kitchen, restaurants want to purchase larger, commercial ovens.

There are a few specialty types of ovens for certain types of food. If your restaurant serves bakery items or desserts, a convection oven is a good choice. Convection ovens come with a fan to circulate hot air. Another option is a combination oven, which lets you roast, smoke, steam and fry items. Conveyor ovens contain a conveyor belt that heats up food at select points. These ovens are primarily used for sandwiches and grinders. Finally, there are pizza ovens. These ovens have more space and reach higher temperatures faster than other ovens, so customers are not forced to wait long periods for their food.


Another important item for the kitchen is a range. Ranges are also available in either gas or electric variants. There are a few more distinctions compared to gas or electrical ovens. Gas ranges offer greater control when you are cooking. They heat up almost immediately, allowing you to quickly make subtle changes to your temperature. Electrical ranges take longer to heat up, but are much easier to clean. They also have more space and are overall better for cooking in bulk. Gas ranges are typically less expensive, around $2,000 to $2,500, while electrical ranges are closer to $3,500. Electrical ranges also increase your electrical bill.


Ventilation controls the airflow and temperature in your kitchen. It is not only used to keep your kitchen comfortable, but also keeps it clean. Ventilation units are often the kitchen item you need to replace the most. They can also use a surprising amount of power. An important consideration with ventilation units is sounds. All of the units are measures in sones. Commercial units commonly used in kitchens range from seven to 21 sones. The louder the rating, the more sound the unit makes. Powerful units often have higher ratings. If the sound is too loud, it may impair communication in the kitchen.

With ventilation, you not only have the base price, but also installation fees. Ventilators are more complicated to install than other equipment, so you are strongly encouraged to hire a professional. Buying a commercial ventilator from a restaurant supplier costs on average between $500 to $1,500, while installation fees are between $800 and $1,250.

Refrigerators and Freezers

Refrigerators and freezers have a much greater price variance depending on the type you buy. While many established restaurants prefer to have a walk-in freezer, this is not always an option. Walk-in freezers require a great deal of space. If you are renting, you need to get permission to install the freezer, which is often difficult to acquire unless the landlord only rents to restaurants. Walk-in units cost around $6,000 to $10,000, plus installation fees.

If you are just starting out, it is more cost effective to buy a traditional freezer. When looking at units, pay close attention to the location of the condenser. Top-mounted condensers are much harder to clean, but they are more resistant to clogs. They also do not blow warm air when the unit is opened. Bottom-mounted condensers, while easier to clean, blow up warm air when you open the door. Typically, only bakeries use bottom-mounted condensers.

Standard refrigerators cost around $1,000 to $1,500. Two-door units are almost double the price, costing between $3,000 to $4,000. Freezers have a slightly wider price range, costing between $1,500 and $3,250.

Food Supplies

A restaurant cannot function without food supplies. Food costs greatly vary depending on the type of food you offer. Ordering food in bulk from restaurant suppliers is the most cost-effective method. In addition to large chain suppliers, check for local markets. Using local markets is a good selling point, and is often less expensive than national suppliers. If local suppliers are not available, some of the top national restaurant suppliers for food include:

Equipment Suppliers

There are several top restaurant equipment suppliers. Webstaurant is an excellent online resource for buying wholesale restaurant equipment. The website features many brand name products with helpful reviews and informative articles. Webrestaurant also overs free shipping on a selection of over 30,000 different items.

Restaurant Depot has in-person locations as well as an online store. In order to purchase, you must become a member. They are one of the largest wholesale restaurant suppliers, managing large warehouses filled with equipment. They not only have larger items like ovens and refrigerators, but also all the small items restaurants need, such as utensils and storage containers.

CKitchen has one of the largest catalogues, with over 50,000 items available. The store also boasts some of the lowest prices of all restaurant suppliers. Because they are partnered with so many kitchen manufacturers, CKitchen representatives are well-trained in all the items they sell, offering greater recommendations and insights compared to other suppliers.