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What is a Wholesale Food Supply Store?

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July 07, 2023

As a restaurant owner, it’s important that  your food supply partners work for your establishment. That’s why it is crucial to carefully vet the companies you work with. Part of that process is understanding how different restaurant food suppliers operate and what benefits they bring to your table.

What is the Difference Between a Broadline Food Distributor and Wholesale Grocery Supplier?

Not all restaurant food supply companies are alike. In fact, food supply stores and food distributors are different from each other, even though they both provide professional-grade food to restaurants.

Broadline Restaurant Food Distributors

A food distributor supplies food to many businesses in the food service industry, such as restaurants, schools, and grocery stores. Distributors work directly with product manufacturers and help bring those items to market. For example, a food distributor might partner with a canned tomato company and take that product to a local market for retail sales.

Broadline food distributors might also store large quantities of food items in their warehouses for quick and easy replenishment for when a business needs to restock.

Wholesale Restaurant Food Supply Stores

Wholesale grocers provide bulk products to a diverse group, from restaurants to hospitality groups and everything in between. They buy products in large quantities directly from the food producer, then sell those products from their own retail hub. For example, a bulk supply store would purchase cheddar cheese from a dairy farm, then stock its refrigerated case with the cheese for retailers.

Wholesale grocers provide bulk products to a diverse group of people and businesses.


If these differences sound pretty similar to you, you’re not alone. It can be confusing to see how they differ. But, there is one key takeaway that should explain the significant differences between a distributor and a wholesaler:

Wholesale grocers buy all their items directly in bulk, which means they can negotiate lower price points, then pass those savings on to their shoppers - like restaurants, food trucks, cafes, and hotels. These businesses can take advantage of large quantities of items, reducing frequent shopping trips and higher-price tags. With rising food costs, especially with staples like eggs and butter, lower purchase amounts low mean restaurants can price their menu better and generate better profits.

Choosing a Wholesale Food Supply Store

There are many different restaurant food suppliers out there. So, you want to choose one that fits your business model the best and offers the best quality products, has competitive pricing, and offers restaurant essentials in addition to food.  

Here are some ways shopping bulk can help your restaurant thrive.

Money-Saving Frozen Foods

Restaurants still grapple with labor shortages. 80 percent of restaurant operators still have difficulty filling employment gaps. Making the most of your current staff while maintaining quality is essential to running a successful restaurant. Even in a robust economy, kitchens want to be efficient and streamlined. Incorporating frozen items from your wholesale grocer means less need for prep time.

Premium Meats and Seafood

Meat and seafood are central to many restaurant dishes. However, meat costs are still on the rise. Beef and veal, for example, are estimated to increase by 1.6 percent in 2023. Partnering with a restaurant meat supplier that offers competitively priced proteins can help combat added food costs. However, you want to ensure they have a variety of meats and promise nothing but the best quality. 

Delivery Services

Let’s face it, having a restaurant and keeping a kitchen running smoothly takes a lot of time. Sometimes getting products delivered right to you makes the most sense. Choose a wholesale food supplier that provides their goods via a reliable, food-safe delivery service.

Premium Wholesale Bulk Food Products at US Foods CHEF’STORE

CHEF’STORE has everything you need for your restaurant, food truck or coffee shop— from fresh produce to meats, dairy, and frozen items. Plus, we stock cooking essentials, paper products, and cleaning supplies.

No membership required! Stop by your wholesale restaurant supply store today for your one-stop shopping or get our excellent items delivered.

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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