The Top 8 Ingredients Restaurants Should Always Stock Up On

Running out of supplies is unthinkable if you are in the foodservice business.


The absence of any key ingredient means diners won’t get a complete dish, the one which they are expecting based on your menu and recommendations of other customers.

As a result, they will be dissatisfied with their meal, which can lead to various problems for your restaurant.

Additionally, running out of ingredients also means not getting to serve certain dishes at all. This, in turn, can lead to a loss of sales and profits. When this happens continuously, it will have dire effects on your business.

Ingredients to Buy in Bulk for Your Restaurants

Top food distributors say that purchasing certain ingredients in bulk enables you to avoid running out of them and ensure continuous smooth service in your restaurant.


Fortunately, there are many ingredients you can stock up on in your kitchen or pantry without worrying about spoilage or loss of quality and food wastage.

Below are the top eight ingredients you can buy in bulk and keep a stock of in your commercial kitchen:

1.  White rice

If you serve rice in your restaurant, good news: this is one of the ingredients you can buy in bulk and stock up on.

White rice has a shelf life of 25 to 30 years. However, you have to ensure it is sealed and stored properly, especially if you don’t cook or serve it regularly.


White rice is often more affordable when bought in bulk. As such, don’t hesitate to purchase and keep plenty of this food item in storage.

This product is also very versatile. Aside from serving white rice as a side dish, you can tweak your menu to add more items that highlight this ingredient.

Examples of rice dishes you can offer are sushi, paella, fried rice, risotto, and rice-stuffed peppers.

Unfortunately, brown rice has a higher oil content, so it can spoil after six months. Because of this, you can’t buy this in bulk, so avoid overstocking this product.


Pork and Beans 2

2.  Dried and canned beans and lentils

Like rice, beans and lentils are also versatile ingredients that you can add in or pair with a variety of dishes. They are healthy and low-fat, too.

Unopened canned beans can last for three to five years. However, dried beans can retain their quality indefinitely, making them one of the food items you can store for a long time.

Bulk dried beans are affordable as well, allowing you to save some money on this ingredient.

Dried beans often lose their moisture after a few years. Because of this, cooking times may vary depending on how long you have stored them.

Whether you use beans in burritos, chilis, stews, or side dishes, storing them in bulk can be a smart move.

Like beans, lentils are also excellent sources of plant-based protein. The dried variety also lasts long, around two to three years, especially if stored properly.

Lentils are also versatile. There are plenty of dishes you can cook or add this ingredient to, such as salads, lentil dal, mulligatawny soup, lentil and quinoa soup.

You can also use lentils as a vegetarian alternative for a variety of meat dishes.

3.  Oats

If you serve breakfast foods and baked goods in your restaurant, you can safely buy bulk portions of oats to store in your pantry.

You can also use oats to make homemade flour, cereals, granola bars, flapjacks, and other items you want to add to your snack menu.

Rolled, steel-cut, and instant oats can last for two years when stored correctly. It is best to transfer them in airtight glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel containers to reduce their exposure to oxygen.

You can also maintain their quality by placing them in a dry and dark pantry or cupboard.

4.  Spices

Some seasonings have long shelf lives, while others don’t, so choose which ones to stock up on wisely.

Buying salt in bulk is always a good idea since it never goes bad. Moreover, it is one of the most widely used seasonings, which means you’ll likely go through it all eventually.

You also won’t go wrong with buying whole peppercorns in bulk. Aside from using them as is, you can grind them since they taste better than store-bought ground ones.

Other types of whole spices are also great buys, as long as you can use them all up within six months.

Unfortunately, buying dried herbs is not advisable since most can only be stored for three months before their quality becomes degraded.

Chicken Pork Adobo 1

5.  Soy sauce

If your restaurant serves Chinese, Japanese, or oriental dishes, soy sauce is an ingredient that is likely used a lot in the kitchen. As such, keep plenty of this condiment in the pantry.

Soy sauce contains large amounts of sodium. Because of this, unopened containers can last for more than three years when stored properly.

Opened bottles of soy sauce can retain their taste and quality for a long time, too, particularly if you keep them in the refrigerator.

It is also safe to buy Worcestershire and oyster sauce in bulk.

6.  Hot sauce

Hot sauce is a condiment that might be popular in your restaurant if you serve pizza, scrambled eggs, chicken wings, and any dish that needs a dash of spice.

Stocking the pantry with hot sauce is, therefore, a good idea.

Hot sauce can last for three to five years due to its vinegar and capsaicin (the hot, active substance found in chili peppers) content.

Make sure you follow the recommended storage directions to prolong its taste and freshness.

7.  Sugar

Sugar is a staple for desserts and pastries. If you serve coffee, tea, and other beverages, your restaurant may often go through this product quickly.

Therefore, buying sugar in bulk is always a good purchasing decision.

White, brown, and powdered sugars can last for one to two years and technically never spoil. However, you have to store sugar in a dry place.

Also, sugar is best used within two years, so keep track of when you open the original packs.

8.  Honey

An alternative to sugar, honey is a healthier sweetening agent. Aside from adding it to beverages, it can be used in desserts and salad dressings.

If you follow the correct storing practices, your stock of honey can stay good for decades. This is because this product has high acidity yet has low water content.

Although most honey products have an expiration date of around two years, they can still be consumed safely after. They may also crystallize over time, but they can still be used and eaten.

There are a ton of good reasons to buy ingredients in bulk. Doing so allows you to reduce packaging waste and ensure you have the supplies you need at lower prices, enabling your restaurant to save a ton of money.

With the right planning and purchasing strategy and tech tools, you can get the most from bulk buying ingredients for your restaurant.

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2 Responses

  1. Hannah says:

    I think this is great advice for home cooks, too. These are all must-haves in my pantry, but I would replace honey with maple syrup.

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