Disposable Catering Supplies
We have all the disposable catering supplies you need to make cleanup easy, from dinnerware and utensils to aluminum chafer pans and food trays.
Buffet Line Supplies
Set up an enticing food display with our buffet line supplies. Browse our chafers, food pans, crocks, and serving accessories.
If you need to stock up on pantry essentials, we carry a variety of catering consumables like canned goods, gravies, and dessert sauces.
Catering Ingredients & Drink Supplies
Build your menu with our catering ingredients and create a beverage list to suit all tastes with our catering drink supplies.
Kitchen Prep And Transport Supplies
Deliver food and other necessities from your prep kitchen to an event location with these catering storage and transport supplies.
Cooking and Holding Supplies and Equipment
From appetizers to desserts, you can prep and hold all of your food at safe serving temperatures with our cooking and holding supplies and equipment.
Display and Decor Supplies
Whether you’re setting up a buffet table or revealing a tiered cake, we have the display and decor supplies needed for a unique presentation.
Catering Furniture and Equipment
From folding chairs to canopies, we carry all the catering furniture you need to set up a successful event.
Catering Beverage Service Supplies
Our selection of catering beverage service supplies includes all the equipment needed to hold and serve your event’s featured drinks.
Browse our selection of tabletop supplies, so you can set up the most inviting place settings for your guests.
How to Start a Catering Business
Catering businesses are often an ideal, flexible alternative to opening and operating a restaurant. Catering businesses allow you the creative freedom of running a foodservice operation without standard hours or a rigid schedule. Plus, they often require less startup capital and financial risk than a full-service restaurant. If you’re considering starting a catering business, keep reading to learn more about this foodservice segment. Before Starting Your Catering Business Before you begin buying equipment or drafting a business plan, it’s important to understand what makes a catering business unique. On the plus side, operating a catering business requires much less financial risk and burden than opening a restaurant while still offering you creative freedom. Many caterers can easily rent a space or equipment, forego staffing if your operation is on the small side, and reduce food waste by cooking for an already known head count. Alternatively, catering an event often puts you and your food in a less controlled environment than a restaurant. When you own a restaurant, you’re preparing food in the same kitchen every night and serving in the same dining room. With catering jobs, you’re either preparing food in a rented kitchen or on-site. During the event, you and your food are at the mercy of the venue space, their amenities, the weather, and staff you may not work with often. It’s also important to consider what type of catering business you’re interested in pursuing: Corporate events: conferences, cocktail parties, staff meetings Social gatherings: weddings, galas, charity events, birthday celebrations Personal uses: cooking a meal in someone’s home for a small gathering or date night or preparing meals ahead of time that clients can take home and reheat later Once you've determined that a catering company is right for you, use the following steps to get your business off to a successful start. 1. Gain Exposure and Experience Like any business venture, it takes a certain level of experience to successfully execute a start-up. Consider working for an already established catering company prior to opening your business. While researching what you’ll need and how to operate is helpful, it won’t compare to the hands-on experience and guidance gained through a working professional. If working for a catering company isn’t doable, volunteer to plan small-scale events for people you may know. Host a holiday party for friends and family or prepare a church luncheon for a small crowd. Operating on a smaller scale first allows you to find and fix potential problems and gain honest feedback from a forgiving crowd. 2. Choose a Concept Creating a solid concept or theme can enhance the marketability of your catering business. Try to focus your concept on something you’re interested in or, better yet, passionate about. If you’ve always loved preparing a big breakfast on the weekends, turn that into a breakfast-themed concept you can offer any time of day. Other concepts could include brunch foods, casual sandwiches, desserts, finger foods, comfort food, or any idea that gives your business direction. When choosing your theme, it’s important to think about the demographic you’ll be serving, how you plan to price your services, and if you can access the equipment needed to sustain your theme. Create a Menu Create your menu before you begin to look at work spaces and equipment. Figuring out what types of food you’ll be cooking means you can decide what equipment, appliances, and space you’ll need to successfully prepare your offerings. While it’s important to stay true to your theme and concept, you need to offer a menu with versatility to accompany a wide range of tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions. Create a selection of offerings that are, for example, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, or low carb. And if your menu items are especially spicy, be sure to offer a few less spicy or not spicy options as well. Once your menu is established, determine how you’ll price your items or event packages. It’s important to have a sample menu prepared and pricing figured out before meeting with your first potential clients. Test Your Menu Try testing your menu concept and dishes in small, no-pressure scenarios. Gather friends and family together, or offer to cook for a small gathering or fundraiser in your community. Be sure to ask for candid feedback from your guests. You can even provide everyone with pen and paper to write their thoughts down anonymously. Once you’ve successfully served your crowd and received feedback, it is important to keep tweaking your recipes. Practice making them over and over again while focusing on efficiency, taste, and presentation. 3. Find a Suitable Working Space Many states have laws and regulations in place to prevent caterers from operating out of their home kitchen. If you are adamant on doing so, you’ll most likely need to make immense modifications to your home and receive approval by local governing authorities. Instead, most caterers start by renting out kitchen space or finding a building to make their own. If you’re just starting out or operate at a low volume, your most economical option would be to rent a commercial kitchen space. This is ideal for those working one or two days a week or for only a few hours at a time. For high-volume operations or those looking to make this a full-time business, you’ll want a place you can have access to 24/7 with more storage and customizable equipment. And if you want to offer tastings for potential clients or sell your goods to the public, you’ll need to rent space with a separate storefront area from where you do your cooking or baking. Customizing Your Catering Kitchen For those looking to rent or buy their own kitchen, you’ll have the opportunity to customize your space and build a kitchen that’s conducive to your cooking. Instead of keeping it generic, focus on what equipment will be most beneficial for preparing your menu items. For example, if you’re focusing on desserts, you’ll want to equip your kitchen with extra ovens. And if your specialty is Southern comfort food, more fryers are a must. No matter what type of food you’re making, catering kitchens must be well-equipped with hot and cold holding areas. Since you’re preparing food ahead of your event, it’s imperative that you quickly cool hot foods or keep them at a safe holding temperature. Additionally, you’ll need adequate equipment to hold your food at the proper temperature during transport. 4. Assess Liability Issues Before you cater your first event, you must apply for the proper permits and ensure your kitchen and staff are well-aware of food safety practices and regulations. If you’re offering bar services, you must come up with a safe serving plan to ensure your staff is serving responsibly. Plan for Potential Problems A little planning can go a long way when it comes to unexpected foodservice emergencies. Think about common obstacles you could encounter with your catering business, and work with staff to establish a response plan. Potential problems could include: Inclement weather at an outdoor event More guests to feed than you had expected Shortage of staff No access to power 5. Choose Your Staff Finding the right staff members to help prepare and serve your offerings can be a challenging task. When choosing staff and introducing them to your business, be sure to consider the following: Decide whether your operation is large enough to hire additional employees Begin with a temp agency until you can grow your business Create a dress code or provide uniforms Offer adequate training in serving protocols and food safety 6. Make a Marketing and Advertising Plan Once you’ve laid the groundwork for your business, it’s time to promote it. Start by figuring out who your target audience is and go from there. This can be determined based on the type of catering operation you plan on running. For example, if you’re interested in social gatherings, you can showcase your menu at bridal expos and contact event planners. Other marketing strategies include: Create a memorable logo that embodies your theme Print out your menu or pricing info to hand out to potential clients Create a website and social media accounts to connect with customers Form relationships with corporate event coordinators and venue holders Offer tastings at local fairs or charity events If you’re looking for the creative freedom of running your own business without the financial undertaking of operating a restaurant, catering could be an enticing option. And with proper planning using the steps above, your business will be off to a good start. No matter what type of catering you decide to do, be sure to create a mouthwatering menu and dynamic concept future customers will flock to. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.
Catering Menu Ideas
One of the first steps in starting a catering business is brainstorming ideas for your catering menu. By offering original catering recipes, you can take your company to the next level and leave a lasting impression on your guests. To create a diverse menu that appeals to a variety of clients, consider adhering to our list of catering menu ideas. Variables to Consider When Choosing Catering Recipes Before you choose which recipes to feature on your menu, you must consider the many variables that can influence your decision. Everything from your budget to the time it takes to prepare your staff can change depending on which recipes you choose. Below, we've provided a list of common variables that influence your catering menu: Ingredient Availability: Some exotic recipes and ingredient pairings are perfect on your palate, but not for your budget. Fresh, exotic, or otherwise rare foods are expensive and may need to be imported and ordered far in advance. This is an added expense and time commitment that may take a toll on profits and increase the cost per plate for your customer. Cost per Serving: When it comes to cost per plate, remember that the customer is the boss. If they ask for an exotic or expensive ingredient, cater to their needs and make price adjustments based on menu substitutions clear from the get-go. If your customer is looking for a less expensive spread, check out our recipes section to find economical dishes to please a crowd. Time in the Kitchen: Some recipes require more time and concentration than others. When preparing large portions of certain foods ahead of time, you may require more staff to keep foods fresh, adding to your expenses. Consider the prep, cook, and plating times when choosing a recipe to find one that best suits your time constraints and kitchen situation. Traditional Catering Menu Ideas While some recipes are tried and true, it has become more common for offices, party planners, and other similar businesses to search for a unique twist to make their occasions stand out. While it's important to focus on dependable standbys, including distinctive meals on your menu can add flair to any occasion. The following recipes add a fresh variation to some old favorites and will bring your catering company’s daring and bold tastes center stage. To create an all-inclusive catering selection, make sure you cover the following categories on your menu: Appetizers Salads, Soups, & Sides Entrees Desserts Appetizer Ideas Start the night off right with a gooey marriage of classic cheese puffs and savory French onion soup. French onion gruyere puffs combine sweet caramelized onions, melted gruyere, and buttery dough with a kick of mustard to create a sensational pocket-sized pastry perfect for pre-dinner snacking. Salad Ideas Didn’t think it could get better than the fresh and familiar combination of mozzarella, tomato, and basil? Throw in another crowd-pleaser, such as stuffed mushrooms, and you’ve got a show-stopping salad. Caprice salad quinoa stuffed portabellas add nutty quinoa, fresh pesto, and roasted pine nuts to turn the salad course into the main attraction. Soup Ideas Nothing can quite compare to a warm bowl of mom’s chicken noodle soup, but Thai coconut chicken soup stands out from the rest. With tangy ginger, coconut milk, and rice noodles, this recipe is sure to create a buzz about your business. Side Ideas Mashed potatoes are a notorious staple side dish, but when you combine red potatoes with spicy chipotles, fresh scallions, and zesty adobo in chipotle mashed potatoes, your side will be anything but predictable! Fiery jalapeno poppers combined with creamy comfort food is a recipe for success. Entree Ideas Meat Entrees Mix up the traditional steak and potatoes and add a little color to your next catering event with glazed skirt steak fajitas. These are perfect for a crowd; plate them beautifully or let your guests customize one at a buffet-style event with olive oil roasted sweet peppers and onions, chunky tomato and cilantro salsa, salty queso fresco cheese, and sour cream. Any way you slice it, these fajitas will add a memorable spice to your event. Poultry Entrees How can you deviate from traditional roast chicken with crispy brown skin and tender vegetables? Pile on the flavor with chipotle-maple glazed turkey. This entree's delicious smell and fusion of sweet and spicy flavors are a sure bet to impress your guests. Seafood Entrees Salmon is a classic standby in every chef’s repertoire, but instead of a traditional presentation, mix it up! Pair creamy pasta with pan-seared salmon and spaghetti Carbonara flavors to leave a lasting impression. Bavette with salmon, asparagus, and peas in pesto cream sauce will certainly leave guests with something to remember. Vegetarian Entrees Including environmentally-friendly catering menu options will help you appeal to more clients, but accommodating vegans and vegetarians with creative dishes can sometimes be a struggle. With lasagna bechamel, everyone will be happy! The bright sweet potato and subtle cauliflower flavors combine into a dish that is second to none. Dessert Ideas Chocolate-covered strawberries provide a short and sweet ending to any meal, but this tuxedo twist is guaranteed to add elegance to any black tie affair. Tweak your dessert presentation to add an extra special touch to your events with these black-tie strawberries. Guests will love this cute trick and your company will get points for creativity. How to Create Catering Recipes To make your catering menu stand out, consider developing unique recipes to feature. This will allow you to develop a catering experience that guests can't find anywhere else. Creating a recipe for your catering menu can be achieved in four easy steps, each of which we've outlined below. 1. Experiment With Different Flavors The first step to creating a recipe should be to experiment with your own blends of herbs, spices, and other flavors in the kitchen. Use local and seasonal ingredients to create your masterpieces, but be sure to take the necessary steps to protect your recipes from competitors. 2. Start with a Proven Recipe Your next step should be to look at existing recipes for inspiration. For example, if you wanted to create a new cookie, it would be wise to begin with a traditional selection of baking ingredients as the base. Below, we've provided an example of a cookie recipe: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 cup packed light-brown sugar 1 tsp. salt 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 2 large eggs 2 cups (about 12 oz.) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips Once you've identified a recipe, throw out any ingredients that are not vital to the production of the substance. In this case, you would keep the flour, butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and leavening agent. 3. Combine Ingredients and Add Your Own Flavors Decide whether you would like to create a sweet or savory dish and add new flavors to make it unique to you. Consider these ingredients which pair nicely in any recipe: Maple Apple Cheddar Orange Chocolate Tomato Mozzarella Basil Balsamic Apple Cinnamon 4. Revamp Your Presentations When in doubt about veering from favorite recipes, try to present a classic favorite in a new way. Cut it into a certain shape, add garnishes, or stack things in a different formation to give plated items a makeover. You would be surprised how far slight presentation changes can go in making your dish stand out. Whether you're just looking for inspiration to improve your menu or need specific advice about how to create your own recipes, our list of catering menu ideas is designed to assist you. Use the tips listed above to create an impressive and distinct menu that leaves customers wanting more.
Catering Supplies Checklist
Catering an off-site event requires organization and planning. Accounting for supplies and catering equipment before your staff steps onto the delivery truck ensures no items are left behind. We’ve made a catering checklist to help you prepare for your event and set your employees up for success. If you’re just getting started in the catering business, this is a good introduction to the items you’ll need for a full-scale, off-site event. Click below for a downloadable catering checklist template: Download our Catering Checklist PDF Table Settings The style of the event will dictate the types of items you’ll need for table settings. Upscale weddings and events require more items to complete a table setting, including cloth napkins, charger plates, and stemware. A simple picnic or barbecue may only require dinner plates, water glasses, and flatware. Tablecloths Napkins Dinnerware Flatware Charger Plates Glassware Salt and Pepper Shakers Water Pitchers Shop All Tabletop Supplies Display and Decor By providing some simple decor rental items to your clients, you can increase the total balance of the event invoice. Many customers would much rather pay your catering company to rent simple items like vases and table numbers than seek out a separate rental company. Don’t forget display risers and display stands that allow you to highlight your dishes and take advantage of vertical space on your food tables. Risers Cakestands Cupcake Towers Candleholders and Candles Centerpieces Vases Table Numbers Chalkboard Signs Shop All Display and Decor Supplies Disposable Catering Supplies Incorporating disposable catering supplies can be cost-effective and convenient for your clients. Using porcelain dinnerware and traditional glassware requires you to reload the soiled dishes back on the truck, and you’ll most likely have to charge a dishwashing fee. With disposable cutlery, plates, and drinkware, you can spare your clients the fee, eliminate the risk of broken dishes, and cut down on cleaning time. Plastic Cutlery Paper Napkins Plastic Drinkware Appetizer Plates Cocktail Picks Foil Pans Aluminum Foil Shop All Catering Disposables Transport Supplies You need catering transport supplies to get your prepared meals off-site without losing temperature. This is why insulated food pan carriers are a caterer’s best friend. They can be loaded with food pans of various sizes and used to keep food hot or cold. Use outdoor coolers to haul drinks and ice. For dry ingredients, use food storage boxes and totes. Insulated Food Pan Carriers Glass Racks Outdoor Coolers Food Storage Boxes, Lugs, and Totes Shop All Storage and Transport Supplies Cooking and Holding Equipment If you plan to set up chef action stations for your event, you’ll need to bring the required equipment and cookware. Induction cookers are a great choice for crepe, omelette, or stir-fry stations because they’re compact, portable, and put off no ambient heat. For outdoor catering events, set up grill stations with portable outdoor grills. Induction Cookers Portable Grills Outdoor Burners Holding Cabinets Shop All Cooking Equipment Serving Equipment You’ve spent a lot of time planning your event, but you can’t always be there in person to handle every detail. Set up your staff for success by providing everything they need to put your vision into place. Lighters are sometimes an afterthought, but they’re crucial to getting your chafers set up with fuel. Extra uniforms and aprons ensure that every member of your staff looks clean and presentable. Serving Trays Tray Stands Chafers Chafer Fuel Serving Utensils Food Pans Server Aprons and Uniforms Shop All Smallwares and Serving Supplies Beverage Supplies Using insulated beverage dispensers allows you to transport hot and cold beverages off-site and maintain a constant temperature for serving. If you’re setting up a coffee station and you want something more elegant, coffee chafer urns are attractive and functional. Don’t forget to bring plenty of ice because you can usually use more than your initial estimate. Ice Beverage dispensers Coffee Chafer Urns Coffee Airpots Shop All Beverage Service Supplies Furniture and Seating You can make your catering business a one-stop shop by offering table and seating rentals to your clients. It gives your customers peace of mind to know their event is being handled by one company instead of shopping around for individual rentals. You’ll also need display tables for your food stations, as well as canopies or tents for outdoor catered events. Canopies / Tents Folding Tables Folding Chairs Benches Cocktail Tables Bars Shop All Furniture Janitorial / Cleaning Supplies You’ll most likely be in charge of all trash removal for your off-site events, so bring the required garbage cans, recycling cans, and liners. Don’t forget to consider portable handwashing stations for locations without sinks or water hookups. Garbage Cans Handwashing Stations Hand Sanitizer Cleaning Towels Disposable Gloves Shop All Janitorial Supplies Use our catering checklist to account for all the items you need to set up an off-site event. There’s nothing worse than arriving at the venue and realizing you’ve left something important behind. Following our guidelines ensures every item arrives safely to your destination so you can keep the focus on your food and service.
Cater a Successful Event with Our Catering Equipment and Supplies
If your business is looking to stock up on the best selection of catering equipment, then you’ve come to the right place! You’ll find everything needed to impress your guests, from food preparation to presentation. From the cooking and serving supplies your staff needs to the dinnerware, flatware, and drinkware you provide for your guests, you’ll be impressed by the quality of all our catering supplies.
Whether you’re hosting a wedding, fundraiser, office party, or other gathering, you’ll find the most reliable catering equipment that will allow you to serve delicious and fresh meals. Deliver prepped food from your kitchen to the event location in our various holding cabinets, or check out our countertop ranges to perform on-site cooking. Our beverage dispensers will even keep hot drinks warm and cold drinks cool for hours at a time. You’ll also love our disposable catering supplies that make cleanup a breeze.
It’s also important to present your entrées, appetizers, and desserts in an eye-catching way. We carry a varied selection of catering supplies that help you create unique and enticing food displays. From cake and cupcake stands to tiered appetizer towers and beautifully crafted serving bowls and trays, your guests will be truly impressed by your buffet line or table.