First of all, you should evaluate your menu and determine the things you absolutely have to have in the way of restaurant supplies in order to operate properly. Seating, tabletops, cooking equipment, dish tanks, and utensils are usually at the top of the list. The 'must haves' are the ones you should make a proper investment in, and are not good places to try to cut corners.
Once you've determined your absolute essentials, think strategically about extras that can reduce kitchen labor or add flexibility to accommodate future menu changes. Kitchen supplies like commercial food processors and vegetable choppers can make a big difference in the time it takes to prepare dishes.
Third, don't forget the 'little' things. Make sure you have an adequate supply of the basic tools you need in a commercial kitchen: spatulas, scoops, knives, pot holders, food service carts, and thermometers are just a few. You'll also need table utensils, napkins, plates, drinkware, and condiment containers.
Finally, don't forget about storage. You'll have to have food storage and shelving for perishables and non-perishables, and they'll have to meet restaurant codes. Every restaurant is different, so the needs will vary some from one to another.
In many cases you can get a better deal on your restaurant supplies and bar supplies if you work with one dealer who can give volume discounts. Price, expertise, and customer service (not necessarily in that order) are three qualities of restaurant suppliers that you must not compromise on. These three qualities are often interdependent, and you should evaluate suppliers to find the one that offers you the best possible combination of price, expert knowledge, and customer service.
If you choose to work with an online restaurant supplier, it is essential that you consider shipping costs, their return policy, and the availability of parts for the equipment you buy. Premium bulk restaurant suppliers won't stay in business if they alienate their customers with poor customer service or shipping costs that offset any savings on the products themselves.
Once you find a provider of bulk restaurant and bar supplies that treats you right and gives you quality for your money, you'll have an easier time when it's time to expand, redecorate, or revamp your menu. A supplier that understands everything from bar stools to steam table pans to heavy gauge stainless steel cookware and bakeware can be a big factor in your success.
Choosing a restaurant supplier should be the product of research and thorough needs analysis, coupled with knowledge about the supplier's history, policies, and expertise. The right supplies from a top dealer of restaurant equipment will help your business's success both short term and long term. Don't rely upon just anyone for the equipment and supplies you need to run your restaurant properly.