Organization is the key word banquet planners must keep in mind. There are a lot of plates to keep spinning when you plan and host a banquet, but waiting too long to look into what kitchen supplies and catering equipment you’ll need can cause a serious bottleneck.
No worries. Here is a list of all the pieces of catering equipment you should keep in mind. This can serve as a checklist for your early planning stages.
Pots and Pans
Anytime you cook for a large group of people, you’ll use several pots and pans. How many you need depends on a number of things:
1) The menu you’ve planned
2) How many guests you’ll serve
3) What cooking equipment (ranges, ovens, etc.) you have
4) Your capacity to wash everything
There are two broad categories of ranges, heavy duty and medium. Heavy-duty ranges will be able to handle your heavier pots, and it will likely be welded together, not held together by bolts.
Whichever category you go with, you’ll find a stovetop on top of an oven, which makes this a versatile piece of equipment for cooking several dishes at once. Larger ranges might even have griddles, prep areas and other additional features, but these extra features begin to quickly affect the price.
Most caterers will need to keep their food — especially meat and fish — as fresh as possible, which usually requires storing it in a space no warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Any basic or commercial-grade refrigeration unit will be able to handle that.
Cleaning up after a banquet is one of the least fun parts of the job, but it’s among the most important. The size and scope of the banquets you host will determine how large and how powerful you’ll need your dishwasher to be. Three things to explore before purchasing a dishwasher: How long is the wash time? How hot can the water get? How much water pressure is it capable of producing?
Also, consider the space in which you’ll install the dishwasher. A compact washer might not require too much room, but it will require adequate ventilation because it will produce a lot of heat.
Grilled meats, fish and vegetables are a big hit with any crowd, so consider incorporating one into your kitchen setup. Most grills use flame or induction heat. If you need to broil dishes, salamander grills are an excellent way to do this. They don’t take up much space, and because they heat from above, they let your dishes — particularly meats — retain all of their moisture.
Microwaves are the quiet workhorses of commercial kitchens. However, be aware that microwaves for everyday home use lack the capacity for prolonged use in a busy kitchen. Get a commercial-grade microwave.
It goes without saying that you’ll need glassware, plates and silverware in abundance to accommodate all of your guests. But here are a few other commercial catering equipment supplies for your checklist:
An Ice Machine
Guests always need ice, and if you have a bartender the need for ice gets exponentially higher.
Beverage dispensers are a great way to both wow guests while giving them the freedom to serve themselves as needed.
Attractive risers, chafing dishes, food warmers, serving dishes and utensils, and good lighting go a long way to making sure the food presentation matches the care and creativity that went into the food preparation.
Food Preparation Tools
Cutting boards, spatulas, whisks, food processors — what you’ll need and in what quantities will depend on your menu. So, once you have the menu planned out, make a separate list of every single tool you’ll need to make your dishes.