ExecutiveChronicles | A Guide to Catering Supplies for Beginners | Running a catering business could be the perfect job for you if you like entertaining and cooking. Catering offers a lot of the same freedoms, creative controls, and benefits as running a restaurant at a fraction of the cost. A single catering order can serve nearly as many people as a restaurant handles in one day but can potentially generate more profit. However, starting a catering business is more than just advertising and cooking. To be successful, you have to develop a plan and determine your strategy.
One of the biggest considerations for starting your own catering business is the equipment. Similar to opening a restaurant, you will need specialized catering equipment to help you prepare, deliver, and serve your food. Your catering supplies can be one of the costliest aspects of starting up your business. Aside from a reliable vehicle, you will need specific equipment and accessories depending on the scope of your business. Fortunately, with online suppliers and wholesale opportunities, there are plenty of ways you can save money. Let’s look at some of the supplies you might need for a start-up catering company.
Transportation and Storage Equipment
Once you have prepared the food, you will need to transport it to the event site. It will be important that you can transport food safely according to regulations without losing temperature. Insulated food pan carriers can be loaded with food pans and used to keep food hot or cold. Depending on the scale of your business, you may need several containers and food carriers to accommodate your business. You will also need to look into things like rolling storage racks, coolers, and food storage boxes. You need to be able to transport your food safely and efficiently and store it on-site until it can be served.
Cooking and Holding Equipment
If your business offers chef action stations for events, you’ll need to bring the right equipment and cookware. Induction cookers are great for setting up crepe, omelet, or stir-fry stations. You’ll want equipment and cookware that is compact, portable, and efficient. For outdoor events, you may need grill stations. When catering for various events that will involve cooking on-site, you should consider portable cookers, outdoor grills, burners, and holding cabinets.
When it comes time to serve the food at an event, you’ll want to make sure that you are ready to deliver everything from the main course to the desserts. Based on the services that you offer, you might require different types of serving equipment. You will need to serve hot foods at an appropriate temperature and maintain temperatures for an extended period. Chafers and a fuel source can keep certain dishes warm for a while. If you need a larger-scale warming solution, you may need to look into buffet stations. Aside from this, you will need serving trays and food pans. Utensils such as serving spoons and forks, as well as tongs, will also be required.
Using insulated beverage dispensers allows you to transport hot and cold beverages to various locations while keeping them at a constant temperature. If you offer a coffee station and need something more elegant, you will want coffee chafer urns. You will probably need some coolers for ice, ice scoops, and various dispensers, depending on the beverages.
Aside from the standard equipment needed to transport, store, and serve, you may also need other equipment based on your business and offerings. You may need tables, chairs, linens, dishes, glasses, and utensils. You may also need some disposable catering supplies. These extra items will depend on your business plan and what you think you may be able to offer to your customers.
With the catering industry worth over $15 billion, new companies have plenty of opportunities. With some hard work, the right business plan, and appropriate catering equipment, you can find success as an independent caterer.