If you own or manage a restaurant that also plans to operate a catering side to the business, you might be wondering if there is a difference between the equipment and supplies you’ll need to purchase for your restaurant versus the equipment you’ll need for catering events, whether on-site at your main business location or at off-site venues.
As you’re considering and sourcing the supplies you might need, here are some basic similarities and differences so you can map out the items you’ll be able to use for both business in addition to those you’ll need to invest in that aren’t so interchangeable.
The main difference between a lot of catering equipment and supplies versus those you’ll find in a restaurant include their portability. If you’re planning to have everything cooked in your restaurant’s kitchen, packaged up, and taken to the venue, you can plan on using the same prep areas, stovetops, and washing stations, etc. But, if you are going to cook everything onsite, you’ll need to invest in high-quality portable grills, flattops, or stoves (whichever complement your catering menu) that will easily travel between (and fit in) each venue. There are lots of great choices when it comes to sourcing portable prep areas, washing stations, and cooking equipment, so be sure to find those that are easy to pack, set up, and use whether you’re catering for indoors or outside.
When it comes to food storage, most of the containers used to seal and store prepped food at your restaurant can also be used to seal, store, and transport catering items, but you do need to make sure the storage supplies you purchase for catering has some type of insulation (whether it’s the containers themselves or insulated carrying cases you can use to transport food items). In a restaurant, you will have your heating and cooling options there always. With catering, you need to plan for longer transport times and, in order to avoid foodborne illness, you’ll want to make sure that no matter how you prepping and cooking the food you have the right heating and cooling methods to keep everything to food-safe temperatures.
There won’t be much of a difference between restaurant and catering serving item in terms of utensils (think serving spoons, carving knives, and spatulas, etc.), but you will need equipment and supplies like display stands, chafing dishes, and buffet stations. When you are travelling from venue to venue, you’ll need to be able to serve your food to guests on the go rather than having a stationary expediting station. Unless you plan to drop off the food you cooked and head out, you might also need to invest in extra staff that can transport the food, set up the dining and serving areas, and serve, too.
The bottom line
All the similarities and differences between restaurant and catering equipment really depend on how they will be used and how your business model shakes out. Prepping and cooking your catering equipment at your restaurant and transporting it to the venue will allow you to save on purchasing heavy-duty cooking and prepping equipment that will be travelling, but some argue it’s better for food quality to prepare and cook everything onsite. No matter which you choose to do, just keep in mind that doing one or the other will also affect which pieces of equipment you will need to purchase for travelling versus which will stay at the restaurant but also be used for your catering business.
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 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.