Off-premise catering offers restaurants a chance to expand business beyond their dining rom. However, catering outside of a restaurant requires a lot of attention to detail and organization. You need a certain pieces of commercial equipment to serve food safey and efficiently.
Plates and flatware are essential for off-premise catering. You will need additional plates and flatware settings so your dining room won't be short during lunch or dinner. Look for restaurant quality plates that won't chip or crack easily. Purchasing white or ivory plates are your best choice, since they go with a variety of color schemes.
Of course any commercial restaurant kitchen is chock-full of serving utensils. However, for an off-premise catering job (or an on-premise catering job, for that matter) invest in some less industrial-looking serving utensils. You can pick up inexpensive stainless steel spoons, tongs and other serving pieces at both restaurant supply stores and consumer chains, such as Wal-Mart.
Chaffing dishes are essential for servinghot food on a buffet line. It's a good idea to store chagffers in their orginal cardboard box, to prevent them from getting scraatched or tarnished. Clean the outside of chaffing dishes with stainless steel polish to keep them looking like new.
Sterno fuel cells keep chaffing dishes warm, while food is being served on a buffet line. Sterno cells hav a pretty good life span - about 3-4 hours each.
Cambros keep hot food hot and cold food cold, which is vital for food safety. These heavy-duty plasitc bins have wheels, making them ideal for moving from one location to another. They come in variou sizes and are fitted to hold both half anf full size hotel pans.
An attractive beverage dispenser adds a nice touch to your off-premise catering service. You can serve all varieties of drinks including lemonade, iced tea, or punnch. Insulated plastic dispensers, while less attractive, act as good cold storage for beverages.
8. Hot Pots
You may be able to obtain hot pots (big thermoses used for coffee, decaf and hot water) from your food or coffee supplier. If not, hot pots are a low-cost investment that nearly every catering service requires.
9. Table Linens
Some restaurants who cater offer full linen service as part of their packages. Table linens are an investment that require regular upkeep, with cleaning, pressing and replacing. Even if you don't plan to offer full linen service, you should keep several tablecloths (white is your best choice, since it goes with everything) on hand to cover buffet tables, cake tables and such. Table skirting will add a professional touch.
10. Banquet Tables
Most likely, whatever venue you are catering will have its own tables (hotels, legion halls, grange halls, church halls). But it's still smart to invest in sturdy banquet tables to use for your buffet line, serving stations or bar. There are great folding plastic tables on the market that take up less room than their non-folding counterparts. However, they are just as heavy, so remember to lift with your legs and not your back!