Whether it is for a large event or for a small business meeting, caterers should never be short of equipment. We are very likely to overlook things when we are in a rush, so forgetting some catering tools might be inevitable from time to time.
A good way to prevent such slips is to keep a list of the things you should bring to a function. Though each catering gig may have different needs, here are some essential equipment you should bring for any kind of reception.
When catering a sit-down meal, you should at least have dinner plates, bread plates and salad plates. Add soup bowls too if you will be serving soup. Of course, you should always bring water glasses and utensils. Depending on the array of beverages you are serving, there have to be wine glasses and coffee cups with saucers. For good measure, consider bringing extra utensils as well.
For the more ornamental part of table settings, you should also have tablecloths, napkins, and centrepieces, so the table would not be bare. Having extras like butter, sugar, salt and pepper in pretty containers are great to have on the tables too.
Of course, you must distribute your food and drinks to the guests. Do not forget to bring the serving trays, bus tubs and water pitchers. You might want to have extra bus tubs so you can place dirty dishes in them after clearing each serving.
All the equipment necessary for a sit-down meal must be present when you are serving a buffet. The placement would just be different and you might have to bring more extras, since items are more likely to be dropped or broken in a buffet.
Consider placing the silverware in rolls for buffet catering. Chafing dishes and fuel cells are additional items necessary in a buffet, so do not forget to bring matches or lighters to start the cells and keep the chafing dishes going. For serving, bring large spoons and one sharp knife. If you are serving ham, turkey or roast beef, you should also bring a cutting board and something to clean up the mess. Remember to decorate the buffet tables too.
Beverage or coffee stations should have their own equipment. If you are serving coffee, do not forget decaf backups, air-pots and hot water dispensers. Also bring ice tubs for cold drinks. The glasses, cups and mugs can be placed in the station as well. Having different options for teas and cocoa would be great. Also, bring packets of sugar and dairy to accommodate various beverage preferences.
Always bring a wastebasket or trash bags for guests to dispose of their trash and for your staff to clean up easier. If you are catering off-premise, you might also need to bring additional equipment, such as disposable utensils, paper towels, coolers and insulated containers. Upon completing it, make sure to show the list to your staff as well. Should you need new equipment or spare parts for catering, new equipment services offered by catering solutions companies are always an option.