My mom owns a ballroom. They host weddings, mainly, along with other events (showers, parties, bar mitzvahs, business meetings, etc.). They get a lot of their food from Gordon's Food Service, or GFS.
I didn't know a thing about GFS before Mom opened her business, 10 years ago. But now, I can't imagine how anyone throws a party without them. You can buy restaurant quality food, in bulk, at extremely reasonable prices. A lot of it is pre-made (especially the desserts and appetizers, which are identical to what you'd buy in a restaurant). The shrimp is fantastic. You might think that you'd have to buy everything in 50 gallon drums, but you'd be surprised... a lot of the stuff they sell is in reasonable quantities (in other words, quantities that a normal family will be able to consume before it goes bad).
I was there last week, and I bought mini quiches for my sister's Christmas party. While I was there, I picked up a bottle of Toasted Marshmallow syrup, which is unspeakably good in hot chocolate. I also got two new half-sheet pans for making cookies (larger and nicer than the cookie sheets you buy elsewhere).
Best of all, unlike Sam's Club and Costco, there is no membership fee. I just wish they sold diapers.
So, if you have a restaurant supply store in your town, call and ask if they sell to the public. You can get awesome food at reasonable prices, and it just might make planning your next party a lot easier. Be careful though - you might get the same reputation I have for always making entirely too much food for a party.
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