Foodservice companies in the process of purchasing catering equipment and supplies sometimes underestimate the issues they can experience if they don’t plan carefully and take some common problems into consideration from the start. For example, does your catering business plan to provide top-of-the-line service but want to stick to a tight budget when purchasing equipment? You don’t want to unintentionally cut any corners and show up to your client’s event only to find your commercial ranges aren’t working. Do you want to offer your clients a menu with a wide variety of specialty items? You might have trouble finding and transporting all the equipment and supplies you’ll need in order to make them all.
Having a plan and understanding which services your catering business will focus on is the essential first step to understanding which catering equipment and supplies your business will need. Consider these common problems with catering equipment and supplies before you make your purchases—whether you’re putting together a new catering business from scratch or revamping your existing business—so you can avoid them and lead a dependable, successful catering team.
Important pieces at a discounted price
As mentioned in the introduction to this article, it can sometimes be tempting to purchase catering equipment and supplies at lower-than-usual pricing because it seems like you might be getting a good deal. Great pricing is out there, but if a product is being sold for much less than its typical value, chances are the product is not the quality you’re looking for. Items like portable cooktops, ranges, and warming stations, can look similar and promise the same features as the more dependable equipment and supplies they’re modeled after but be a lighter weight or made of materials that won’t last. They might have faulty wiring or need more servicing than their higher-quality counterparts.
When it comes to purchasing quality commercial-grade catering equipment, you want to ensure you’re investing in well-made supplies that are built to withstand the everyday wear and tear of a busy catering business, otherwise chances are your equipment you worked so hard to earn might not last as long and will need to be serviced or replaced more quickly than some of the other, more heavy-duty options.
Look for heavier gauge stainless-steel and cast-iron pieces and visit a showroom or speak to your supplier directly to ensure you’re purchasing equipment that is durable and built to last, especially when being moved around and transported from place to place. Investing in items made with high-grade materials might cost a bit more upfront but will end up saving you from replacing it down the line. The last thing you want is to show up at a client’s event and not be able to provide the stellar dining services you’ve promised.
Space and layout limitations
Are your clients’ venues going to be indoors or outdoors? Are you going to have access to enough outlets for your equipment and supplies that need electricity? Before purchasing your catering equipment and supplies, try to think about all the ways you might be limited and plan from there. It might be easier, for example, to invest in more smaller tables than larger so you can angle them and fit them into tighter spaces or odd configurations. There might be venues where you won’t have access to water or have enough power to cook everything onsite. In these cases, will you be able to bring your own portable workstations and prepare some food in advance, keeping it hot or cold? You might need plenty of insulated carrying cases and/or carts. It’s never a good idea to assume you’ll have access to everything you need at your clients’ venues. You may need to provide (and should prepare for having) a lot of these things on your own—at least some of the time—so your cooking staff can complete their service in a way that pleases your clients’ guests.
Items built for portability
One of the main things your catering equipment and supplies will need to be is portable. Ensuring your staff can set up and take down all cooking and serving stations quickly and easily will help the process ebb and flow a bit more seamlessly. It will help your foodservice business look more put together and professional while also allowing your staff to focus on cooking rather that transporting, setting up, and dismantling—especially if it takes a long time or is difficult to do.
Food and safety measures
One of the most important aspects of catering—other than making sure your food looks and tastes great—is ensuring your clients’ guests’ safety. Preventing foodborne illness while catering can be challenging. It’s imperative to keep hot and cold foods at safe temperatures, and in order to do so, you need to have the right insulated carrying cases, heating lamps, cooling trays, etc. both onsite and when being transported. It’s important to take these safety measures, even if you need to purchase portable refrigeration to do so, as you do not ever want anyone to get sick from consuming your food.
Can BHS Foodservice Solutions Help?
BHS Foodservice Solutions has over 80 years’ experience helping catering companies like yours find the best equipment and supplies for their catering business. If you have any questions, contact us, and one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives will help you find the equipment and services you need to increase kitchen productivity and maximize your food-industry investment with a solution that’s right for you.