Why You Should Only Buy Tongs At A Restaurant Supply Store

Although most of us consider restaurant supply stores to be strictly for, well, restaurants, this isn't necessarily the case. These stores sell all sorts of kitchen equipment, cleaning supplies, and food items, often at lower prices than you might find in a regular grocery or department store. And, their deals are available to everyone — even the average home cook.

As such, restaurant supply stores are an excellent place to buy tools like tongs. For instance, you can buy a single 12-inch pair of stainless steel, locking tongs for under $2 at a supply store, with that price lowering by up to $0.30 per pair when you purchase multiples. Meanwhile, a nearly identical pair would cost almost $18 from a retail spot like Williams Sonoma.

Of course, the supply store comes with the added perks of more sizes to choose from, different materials, and countless handle designs (scalloped, serrated, smooth, etc.), while your go-to grocery store may be limited to bulky grilling tongs or unwieldy scissor tongs, only adding to the list of reasons to avoid expensive cooking tools.

Other kitchen items to buy at restaurant supply stores

As previously mentioned, restaurant supply stores carry more products than you can imagine, offering deals that rival those found anywhere else. In addition to scoring discounted tongs, you can also get things like sheet trays, metal bowls, and plastic deli containers, again all for much less than you'd find at a department store.

A sheet tray, for example, might regularly go for $45 at retail, while you could purchase a similarly sized tray at a restaurant supply store for about $4.80. (Which is way more budget-friendly if your sheet trays warp in the oven on a regular basis.) Likewise, an 8-quart stainless steel mixing bowl might typically cost about $25, but you could buy one just like it for under $3 at a supply store.

When it comes to deli containers for food storage, sure, you could pay less at a grocery store, but the cost per item is going to be much higher. For example, a 48-pack of these containers will set you back only $18 at Walmart, but paying $25 at a restaurant supply store will get you a case of 240. This deal will save you the trouble of frequently repurchasing smaller packs.

Restaurant supplies to avoid buying for home use

Without a doubt, you can find some great cookware deals at a restaurant supply store, but not every deal is worth it for home use. For instance, supply stores may offer unbelievably low prices on bulk staples like sugar, canned veggies, cooking oil, and spices. However, these staple ingredients are often sold in such large bulk (like a 50-pound bag of flour) that, unlike restaurants, a home cook could never even make a dent in it before the product goes bad. You're much better off making bulk food purchases from a grocery store, if at all.

Likewise, you should avoid buying things like knives and dinnerware, as these tend to be more unwieldy than the options you could find elsewhere. What's more, because the knives are cheaper, the quality is lower, and you'll find yourself needing to replace them more frequently. So, do yourself a favor and pick up knives for your kitchen arsenal from a department store.

Lastly, but certainly not least, never purchase industrial cleaning supplies intended for restaurant use. Because these cleaning agents are so concentrated, they often necessitate protective gear that you may not have on hand. If you use and dispose of these supplies incorrectly, you could damage your work surfaces, suffer chemical burns, or even inadvertently contaminate local groundwater. Instead, just buy bleach on sale at the grocery store, and be sure to dilute it.