From catering to food trucks, there are many different kinds of food service businesses out there. When you are serving food, there are things you need, and finding them is not as hard as it may seem.
One of the best places to get items for your food service business is a restaurant supply house. Most restaurant suppliers carry just about anything you need for the kitchen as well as things you may need to serve guests. While these supply houses have a lot of inventory, they may not have precisely what you need if you are in the market for a specific style of type of product. You may have to make a substitution or use another vendor.
If you are hosting an event and the client wants something very specific for serving food on, or maybe special drinkware, you may find you need to buy it directly from the manufacturer to be sure you are getting exactly what the client wants. Most manufacturers of food service supplies will work with businesses directly, but you can call and talk with the company about what you are doing and how to source the items from them. They may want you to contact an authorized reseller or dealer to get the product, but they can help you find it in your area.
Resellers and Vendor
A lot of large companies that manufacture food service products work with authorized dealers sell their product. Most large manufacturers are focused on making the product and are more interested in selling their product in large volumes. While a restaurant chain may buy that way, most small catering or food service providers don't buy enough to make it worth the paperwork for small transactions.
The best option is for these companies to refer you to an authorized dealer so you can order the items you need, in whatever volume you need. Some dealers will impose minimum purchases as well, but you will have to check with your local dealer to see if they do.
Some of the large warehouse club stores carry large volumes of paper goods, plastic ware, and containers for food service. They may not have all of the products you need, but in a pinch, a warehouse store may be a good place to get things that you are running low on or didn't expect to need when planning the event. Most of these stores do require a membership, but if you are buying a lot of these kinds o products, it might be worth paying for a membership to save some money.
Keep these options in mind as you start contacting foodservice equipment suppliers in your area.