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Get a basic catering supplies checklist for a full-scale catering business

Catering an off-site event requires organization and planning. Southwest Restaurant Equipment has put together a catering checklist to help you prepare for your event and set you up for success. If you’re just getting started in the catering business, this is a good introduction to the items you’ll need for a full-scale, off-site event.

Table Settings

The style of the event will dictate the types of items you’ll need for table settings. Upscale weddings and events require more items to complete a table setting, including cloth napkins, charger plates, and stemware. A simple picnic or barbecue may only require dinner plates, water glasses, and flatware. Sometimes some of these items are provided by the event planner, but it’s good to have basic items on hand.

  • Tablecloths
  • Napkins
  • Dinnerware
  • Flatware
  • Charger Plates
  • Glassware
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers
  • Water Pitchers
Shop All Tabletop Supplies

Display and Decor

By providing some simple decor rental items to your clients, you can increase the total balance of the event invoice. Many customers would much rather pay your catering company to rent simple items like vases and table numbers than seek out a separate rental company. Don’t forget display risers and display stands that allow you to highlight your dishes and take advantage of vertical space on your food tables.

  • Risers
  • Cakestands
  • Cupcake Towers
  • Candleholders and Candles
  • Centerpieces
  • Vases
  • Table Numbers
  • Chalkboard Signs
Shop All Display Items

Disposable Catering Supplies

Incorporating disposable catering supplies can be cost-effective and convenient for your clients. Using porcelain dinnerware and traditional glassware requires you to reload the soiled dishes back on the truck, and you’ll most likely have to charge a dishwashing fee. With disposable cutlery, plates, and drinkware, you can spare your clients the fee, eliminate the risk of broken dishes, and cut down on cleaning time.

  • Plastic Cutlery
  • Paper Napkins
  • Plastic Drinkware
  • Appetizer Plates
  • Cocktail Picks
  • Foil Pans
  • Aluminum Foil

Transport Supplies

You need catering transport supplies to get your prepared meals off-site without losing temperature. This is why insulated food pan carriers are a caterer’s best friend. They can be loaded with food pans of various sizes and used to keep food hot or cold. Use outdoor coolers to haul drinks and ice. For dry ingredients, use food storage boxes and totes.

  • Insulated Food Pan Carriers
  • Glass Racks
  • Outdoor Coolers
  • Food Storage Boxes, Lugs, and Totes
Shop All Storage and Transport Supplies

Cooking and Holding Equipment

If you plan to set up chef action stations for your event, you’ll need to bring the required equipment and cookware. Induction cookers are a great choice for crepe, omelet, or stir-fry stations because they’re compact, portable, and put off no ambient heat. For outdoor catering events, set up grill stations with portable outdoor grills.

  • Induction Cookers
  • Portable Grills
  • Outdoor Burners
  • Holding Cabinets
Shop All Cooking Equipment

Serving Equipment

Set up your staff for success by providing everything they need to put your vision into place. Lighters are sometimes an afterthought, but they’re crucial to getting your chafers set up with fuel. Extra uniforms and aprons ensure that every member of your staff looks clean and presentable.

  • Serving Trays
  • Tray Stands
  • Chafers
  • Chafer Fuel
  • Lighters
  • Serving Utensils
  • Food Pans
  • Server Aprons and Uniforms
Shop All Smallwares and Serving Supplies

Beverage Supplies

Using insulated beverage dispensers allows you to transport hot and cold beverages off-site and maintain a constant temperature for serving. If you’re setting up a coffee station and you want something more elegant, coffee chafer urns are attractive and functional. Don’t forget to bring plenty of ice because you can usually use more than your initial estimate.

  • Beverage dispensers
  • Coffee Chafer Urns
  • Coffee Airpots
Shop All Beverage Service Supplies

Furniture and Seating

You can make your catering business a one-stop-shop by offering table and seating rentals to your clients. It gives your customers peace of mind to know their event is being handled by one company instead of shopping around for individual rentals. You’ll also need display tables for your food stations, as well as canopies or tents for outdoor catered events.

  • Canopies / Tents
  • Folding Tables
  • Folding Chairs
  • Benches
  • Cocktail Tables
  • Bars
Shop All Furniture

Janitorial / Cleaning Supplies

You’ll most likely be in charge of all trash removal for your off-site events, so bring the required garbage cans, recycling cans, and liners. Don’t forget to consider portable handwashing stations for locations without sinks or water hookups.

  • Garbage Cans
  • Handwashing Stations
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Cleaning Towels
  • Disposable Gloves
Shop All Janitorial Supplies

Basic Catering Supplies

There’s nothing worse than arriving at a venue and realizing you’ve left something important behind. Always keep a checklist to make sure everything goes smoothly. Keep the focus on your food and service while shopping with Southwest Restaurant Equipment.

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