BHS Foodservice Solutions Blog

What Are the Catering Supplies Your Restaurant Needs and How Do They Work?

Posted by BHS Foodservice Solutions on 1/7/20 10:30 AM
BHS Foodservice Solutions

people group catering buffet food indoor in luxury restaurant with meat colorful fruits  and vegetables-1

Owners and managers of catering businesses or restaurants are likely quite familiar with the different types of catering equipment and supplies including what they are and how they work. If, however, you’re a bit new to the topic and are thinking of going into the business—or maybe you’re just making sure you have all your options covered—you might want to learn more about these items and how they can enhance your catering business’ operation and efficiency.

Depending on how you plan to run your catering business (whether you plan to run the business by cooking in your restaurant’s kitchen and transporting the food to the venue or invest in portable equipment that can be set up at the venue so your staff can prepare and cook the food onsite—or even a mixture of both), your equipment and supplies might look a bit different than the other businesses in your field. Keep in mind, too, that what you plan to offer on your menu will also affect which items your catering business will need, but regardless of what your business needs specifically, below is an overall idea of what the most-used catering equipment and supplies are and how they work so you can be sure to set your catering business up for success.

Cooking equipment

What they are

Most catering businesses will want to cook onsite at the venue to make sure the food being served is at its freshest. The type of catering equipment suitable for cooking include portable grills, stoves, smokers, fryers, steamer, and ranges, to name a few.

How they work

How these items work will vary based on whether they are operated by electricity or propane, and some are freestanding while others sit upon the tabletop. Think about how your staff will be setting up and taking down the catering space and plan accordingly. The electrical cooking equipment, for example, will need to have access to the appropriate outlets. But in general, if you’re planning to tote around portable cooking supplies, make sure you have an idea of the counterspace and outlets available prior to purchasing. You wouldn’t want to show up with an electric stovetop when your client’s venue doesn’t have suitable electrical access.

Warmers and chillers

What they are

When catering at various venues, whether out of your own restaurant or elsewhere, you will need to have equipment that keeps food either hot or cold according to their recommended food-safe temperature. Items available include portable buffet tables, heated serving carts, tabletop heating lamps, hot- and cold-food serving tables, heated carts and cabinets, soup warmers, and heated food wells for dispensing condiments.

How they work

Most of these items are electrical, and they make it easy to set up (whether on the tabletop or freestanding) and will keep food hot or cold for hours. Some are used as heated/cooled storage while others can be used to keep food hot or cold as it’s being served. Portable free-standing versions will typically have wheels, so they are easy to move around.

Service stations

What they are

Service stations will typically be made up of some type of heated or cooled display that has any assortment of chafing dishes, carving stations, food wells, buffet stations, and serving dishes.

How they work

Sometimes these service stations will be heated and cooled with something as easy as chafing fuel or ice, and how each works will depend on the type you choose to go with. Most will, however, also have a double-well system so there is a buffer of water between the food pan and heat source. In general, it’s best to think about how your guests will be served (will your staff be serving or will the guests be serving themselves?) as you might want to go for the simpler options if you’ll be having a lot of foot traffic in a self-serve station versus having the staff to make sure wires are tucked in and guests can’t trip over them. Some newer food-service stations, like buffet tables, have modular designs that make it easy to drop in the food well you need and remove those you don’t so you can build your service stations to fit your catering needs.

Food transport

What they are

Food transport equipment for the catering business typically includes some type of upright transporter, food tray carrier, catering dollies, and carry bags. These also come in freestanding, stackable, and hand-carried designs.

How they work

These food transportation equipment and supply items should always be insulated. This keeps everything at food-safe temperatures whether the food is being prepped and cooked at the restaurant and being transported to the event or being cooked and transported from room to room onsite. They are not typically heated or cooked with an energy source but will be made to keep the food at the temperature it is at when packed for transport. They can also have slots to carry trays or have empty cavities for stacking individual storage containers.

Handwashing stations and sinks

What they are

Portable handwashing stations and sinks are a must-have for catering businesses. They allow employees and guests to keep the food-service area as sanitary as possible while prepping, cooking, serving, and consuming food.

How they work

There are typically two types of portable sinks and washing areas: those that need to be connected to a water source and those that have their own water source. Those that will attached to a water source, such as a hose or sink, will come with connecting hoses so the water can be accessed from different locations. If water access is an issue, some of these sinks will have a basin for holding their own water, and guests and employees can use soap and water to wash their hands regardless of the venue location.

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.

Topics: Restaurant Food Storage, Food Safety, Catering Equipment, Food Transportation, Catering Supplies