Prepare for events with a catering equipment & supply checklist

Setting up your off-site catering event and realizing you forgot something is a horrible feeling. It can throw off your entire event, especially if you've just started your catering business.

Making sure you have all the catering supplies and equipment you need before you leave to set up is important to the event's success. We've compiled a list of popular items used for off-site events. You might not need all of them for every occasion, but having them on hand is helpful.

download a catering equipment and Supply checklist

Make sure you have everything you need as you pack up for an off-site catering event with a Catering Equipment and Supply Checklist.

Catering chefs discussing menu on clipboard in commercial kitchen.Catering chefs discussing menu on clipboard in commercial kitchen.
Image of catering equipment and supply checklist. Black text on white background with red bars.Image of catering equipment and supply checklist. Black text on white background with red bars.

Tableware

The type of event you're catering will determine what you'll need for your table settings. A formal wedding would require more and different supplies than a family reunion. Consider keeping items like cloth napkinstablecloths, wine and champagne glasses, and water glasses on hand for events.

Display and Decor

Providing your clients with decor they can use to decorate the event space allows them to save money by not purchasing the items themself or finding someone else to rent from. You can also use risers and cakestands to elevate your food off the tabletop giving you more space and making a more creative presentation.

White glove wearing catering company employee setting fine dining place setting.White glove wearing catering company employee setting fine dining place setting.

Disposable Catering Supplies

Using disposable supplies like plastic cutlery and bamboo plates provides your clients with a less expensive option than using flatware and dinnerware that you have to transport back to your kitchen to clean. It also keeps you from worrying about broken plates and glasses and lets your staff clean up faster.

Transport Supplies

Transport supplies give you a safe and organized way to get the food and drinks you're serving to off-site events. Insulated food pan carriers let you keep food at safe temperatures during transportation and as you wait to serve food. Glass racks are specialized carriers that hold glasses in place to move them safely to the event space. Food storage boxes, lugs, and totes give you convenient ways to carry food that doesn't need to be held at a specific temperature and items, like flatware and dinnerware, among others, in an organized manner.

Catering worker wearing rubber gloves stacking plastic sectioned carry-out boxes filled with food for a catered event.Catering worker wearing rubber gloves stacking plastic sectioned carry-out boxes filled with food for a catered event.

Cooking and Holding Equipment

If you're going to finish cooking some of your menu items at the event space or create an action station, you'll need portable cooking equipment and cookware.

Serving Equipment

Once you've made all the delicious food for your event, you need to serve it. Serving trays and aprons will help your staff serve and clear the meal. Chafers, food pans, and serving utensils are must-haves for buffet-style meals.

Catering servers carrying plates with entre dish through a catered eventCatering servers carrying plates with entre dish through a catered event

Beverage Supplies

Most insulated beverage dispensers can move hot and cold beverages from your kitchen to the event space while retaining temperature. However, they lack the attractive looks of other beverage dispensers and might not be the best choice if they're visible to guests.

Tables and Chairs

Like display and decor supplies, folding and stacking furniture is an added benefit you can give your clients. It makes their planning process more straightforward as they won't need to find a rental company to provide tables and chairs. Regardless of whether you're providing furniture for guests, you'll want to make sure you have tables for back-of-house purposes as you prep, plate, and serve guests.

Cleaning Supplies and Janitorial Equipment

Keep your work area and serving space clean with garbage cans, trash bags, and other cleaning supplies. If you're serving outdoors, portable handwashing stations and hand sanitizing stations are great solutions for your employees and guests.

Party guests standing near a catered buffetParty guests standing near a catered buffet

Once you've purchased all the equipment and supplies your catering company needs, having a checklist for each event will help ensure everything you need for a successful event is packed and ready for delivery. You can download our checklist here to help you plan and track what equipment and supplies to bring.