Wholesale restaurant supply chain opens to the public for the first time — I left with TP, milk, and more (photos/tips)

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/13/wholesale-restaurant-supply-ch.html


I am expecting a lot of the institutional supplies that aren’t getting used to show up on the retail market soon.
Commercial beauty supply warehouses must also be full of items that dye-at-home people want.


What are goat carcasses used for? I assume they are dried?? And why are they so cheap?


Life is cheap in the wasteland


I had wondered recently if my 20-ish year old membership card would still get me in. :slight_smile:


For T-Rex. Just drop them into its pen.


If I lived near one, I’d need a horizontal freezer at home, because I’d buy so much effin’ ice cream…


I think that’s the “per lb.” price.


OH, ok, but still, is it like jerky? Or what!?

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Probably frozen/refrigerated whole goat. Costco actually sells these too, but they only have one or two at a time in the freezer section.


Whoa! They let you access the Construct? When I went there it was just full of guns.


The first locations to open to the public were a few weeks back.

I had been told they were practically stripped bare by the time they opened up. I think because they’d all stopped ordering/buying new stuff before the decision to invite the public in. By that point the bulk of their buyers were closed, and the only people shopping were people with accounts/cards shopping for their own use.

So it sounds like they restocked and prepped as the other locations got ready.

Just so everyone knows they do have some smaller packages, usually stuff meant to be sold by the case. They’ll break a few up and sell singles. But most everything in there are wholesale brands or their own house brands. They’re a rather large packager/processor mostly built on wholesaling their own stuff. A lot of the other stuff are wholesale only, or wholesale focus brands. So you might not recognize them.

They are often not package in accordance with rules for retail sales, or just impractically for it. Like your commercial terlit paper only has a UPC for the entire case. And each roll is usually labeled “not for resale” all over it. And a case is frikin huge. Usually at least 48 rolls. To say nothing of the 1 foot wide roles meant for public restrooms.

Six pound cans of tomatoes. 5 gallon buckets of mayo.

The issue in redirecting this shit to retail is that a lot of the time it’d have to go back to the producer or packager to get repackaged. And a lot of the companies involved don’t even have the equipment for that. Often enough it’s not cost effective at all, you might go broke trying.

I’ve already seen commercial TP showing up in grocery stores, I expect we’ll see more of that where it’s practical. But some of it is just not gonna work for that.

Frozen. The meat section of a Restaurant Depot is an impossibly huge fridge. Frozen goats, pigs, and sheep are stacked like cordwood. Taken out a pallet at a time from the also impossibly large freezer.

They’re bought for roasting whole, or butchering down. Usually by smaller Hispanic and Halal markets or restaurants in the same markets. So short answer:


All prices posted on meat there are /lb. And that’s actually a little high for goats at RD. I usually see them around 3.99/lb.


There appears to be one of those wholesale places not all that far from me apparently, but i don’t need all that much food right now unfortunately. Would love to go just to check it out but considering current circumstances i’m minimizing my time outside the apt unless necessary.

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I got to visit one of these while an ex-girlfriend was starting up her vegan baking company. They also sell lots of chef supplies like mixing bowls, aprons, pots and pans, cookie sheets, etc. None of it particularly nice, but probably fairly cheap. I also discovered why I can never find my favorite flavor of those mini-bags of potato chips at the local delis- they sell one big variety box there, and it only had specific flavors. Mini-bags of the other ones apparently don’t exist. Bummer.


But it just looks like its out in a bin!

Oh - ok - I’d never had guessed.


As a warning to the other goats.


Well, I didn’t get that close to it, honestly.


FWIW, they have always been open to the public. You just get a temporary card every time you walk in and sign a piece of paper.

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This is good news and we need more of this - there’s been an absolutely staggering amount of food waste because the food was being prepared/packaged in industrial-sized quantities, for restaurants and cafeterias, that were too big for even Costco (and not packaged for consumer sale), forcing farmers and distributors to literally dump the stuff when their buyers suddenly disappeared. Apparently re-tooling the factories that produce, say, 25-lb bags of shredded cheese to just produce smaller bags isn’t financially feasible.

I haven’t been able to buy flour anywhere, and since I was already doing all my own baking before the pandemic, this was making me very nervous as my supply has dwindled. It led to the discovery that the mills that grind the flour, and normally distribute directly to bakeries, have begun selling directly to the public. The only problem is the 50-lb sack of whole wheat flour is going to take a while to get through…

You must be kidding.