Perhaps the easiest route to take when buying catering equipment is online through various websites. This probably applies when you’re trying to get a hold of hard-to-find catering equipment like a fondue bar or a kuroma fryer but when it comes to the basic stuff, it might be a better idea to scout locally. Go online but scout locally. That’s the way to go.
Meantime, here’s what you need to know for buying catering equipment:
- Determine what it is that you need. For now, these basics will be sufficient.
- Plates for meals and desserts
- Cups and saucers
- Salt and pepper shakers as well as other containers for condiments like ketchup.
- Serving trays
- Cooking utensils
- Assortment of pans including a crackpot for slow cooking meals.
- Food trolley
- Gas stoves
- Choose durable, affordable, and quick-cleaning materials. Stainless steel, copper, and Teflon are the top three choices for caterers. These materials are everything you want to make food preparation and cooking simple and easy.
- Do not buy complicated gadgets. This is an absolute no-no when it comes to catering. Complicated gadgets will only add to the stress, something that you don’t need when you have to cater an event for 300 or more people. Another factor is the expense. Leave the complicated gadgets to internationally-renowned Michelin chefs.
- Find a local supplier. Or a couple more suppliers if you have needs that go beyond the basic equipment. For this, you can go online, check the phone directory, and visit restaurants, cafes and bars. Don’t hesitate to ask people you know who knows someone who knows a supplier. Think six degrees of separation.
- Drop by restaurant suppliers. You can find supply stores where you live. Even that hole-in-the-wall pots and pans stores might have something to offer your business.
- Gone with old and on with the new. There are always opportunities out there to buy second-hand catering equipment from caterers who are moving on to establish their own intimate eatery or diner or those who want to go back to culinary school to learn more about food. Here’s your chance to find out where they are and buy their second-hand stuff. Start with culinary schools as the obvious choice and those that you stumbled upon during your online research.
- Speak with other caterers. Get their recommendation about this subject. However choose whom to speak with. Catering is a competitive and seasonal business and the last thing you would want is to stumble on a caterer who will see you as competition.
- Rent when you can. This is the most efficient, smartest, and cost-effective way of building a slew of catering equipment. For one you won’t be stuck with equipment during off season.
- Test the equipment. When the equipment you want to buy looks all shiny and new, it’s easy to just go ahead and settle the payment so you can take this home with you. This is not a good idea. Equipment like warmers, grills, stoves, or anything that needs to be plugged need to be inspected and tested. Do this please before making a decision and paying for the equipment.
An intelligent buyer or business person knows the importance of comparing prices before forging ahead with making purchases. You are strongly encouraged to do this in order to save on costs and protect overhead.