Catering Event Checklist: Don’t Leave Without These Key Items

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When you’re cooking food for a large or small event, you’ll need to transport multiple supplies to ensure the party’s success. One of the best ways to help you prepare for these events is to create a list of catering tools and equipment. Never leave for a venue without these key items on your catering checklist.

To make it easier for you to prepare it, we have gathered all the most important catering supplies divided into thematic sections. Keep on reading and learn to prepare your ultimate catering checklist!

Transportation Equipment & Supplies

First, how do you expect to leave with any of your catering supplies if you don’t have a mode of transportation or the equipment to do it safely? Some of the foods you prepare are temperature sensitive and require coolers or insulated food pan carriers to keep the food at the correct and constant temperature until you arrive at the off-site location.

What’s more, it is crucial to take into account how large and heavy your catering equipment is and how long the distance between your location and the venue is. On top of that, travel conditions have a great impact, too, so it’s best to choose a vehicle with ample space that is suitable for carrying heavy loads. This way, you will avoid overcrowding and protect your supplies against potential damage.

Apart from the temperature control equipment and safe transportation, you should also include food storage containers and glass racks for serving trays on your catering checklist for events.

To be ready for any scenario, always remember to prepare a backup plan. It can entail an additional vehicle or extra coolers, for example. In this way, you will be prepared for any unexpected problems that can appear in transport.

Keep in mind that the journey to the venue is as significant as the event itself if you want to provide successful catering every time.

To add:

  • Capacious vehicle
  • Insulated food pan carriers
  • Coolers
  • Glass racks
  • Food storage containers
  • Preferably: extra coolers and a backup vehicle

Serving Equipment

Do you plan on physically serving guests at the event, or will you be setting up a buffet table? Either way, you’ll need supplies to safely serve food and beverages without contaminating them, so don’t forget to put them on your catering items list.

It is crucial to select the right serving equipment for an event, as it can have a huge impact on making a good impression on the guests. For instance, if you are going to serve guests directly, it would be a great idea to use elegant utensils and serving trays. Such items will be not only functional, but they will also improve the presentation of the served food.

In the case of a buffet-style event, you should never forget about chafers, as they will help you to keep the right temperature of your food. Also, with clear signage, they will help the guests to find out what’s on the table.

Chafing dishes with food

If you want to present a professional image of your catering company, you should always provide your staff with server uniforms. To make the service even more personalized, they can be tailored to fit the theme or style of a particular event.

Last but not least, always remember to keep hygiene at the highest level possible. Regular cleaning and sanitizing of your serving equipment is a must to make sure the served food is safe for the guests. You always need to have a suitable system for that in place – if on-site cleaning is not possible, provide a careful wash back at your kitchen.

To add:

  • Serving trays
  • Serving utensils
  • Chafers
  • Server uniforms
  • Cleaning and sanitizing equipment

Disposable Supplies

If you’re searching for convenient and cost-effective ways to serve guests, consider adding disposable supplies to your checklist for a catering event. Ordering items such as disposable mason jars in bulk will cut down on cleaning time. What’s more, they are less likely to break and cause the guests harm. On top of that, because you can use disposable catering supplies instead of glass or porcelain ones, it’ll be easier for your crew to transport fewer supplies back at the end of the night.

Apart from the practical benefits disposable cutlery and other tableware offer for your catering business, they can also improve the aesthetics and the event’s theme. You can select from a wide range of designs and materials so that they match a given style – be it an elegant wedding reception, a casual outdoor barbecue, or any other.

Moreover, you can now easily find eco-friendly disposable supplies that are made from recyclable or compostable materials. In this way, you will reduce your event’s environmental impact and meet the expectations of eco-conscious clients.

Take into consideration that disposable catering supplies are not necessarily just an afterthought – choosing high-quality products like those offered in our online shop can improve your guests’ dining experience while making your post-event operations easier and faster.

To add:

Cleaning Supplies

One of the essential items on your catering supplies checklist that you don’t want to leave without is cleaning supplies. You’ll need to effectively clean up your mess after an off-site catering event at the end of the night—and you can’t expect the venue to do this. Taking cleaning supplies—such as garbage cans and bags, disinfectants, and rags—with you to the venue can make clean-up quick and easy.

Apart from the basic cleaning supplies, it is worth having items that can be useful for keeping a neat and clean environment during the whole event. For example, you can add portable hand-washing stations to your catering supplies checklist, as they will make it possible for your employees to always keep a high hygiene standard – also when a kitchen facility is not so easily accessible.

What’s more, you can improve waste management and prevent excessive littering during the event by placing small waste bins strategically all around the serving area. If you want to minimize the environmental impact of your operations, you can opt for eco-friendly cleaning products.

A waitress cleaning the table after a catering event

At the end of the day, never forget to leave the venue as clean as you found it. In this way, you will show respect for its staff and present full professionalism. As a result, your catering company can get more beneficial opportunities in the future.

To add:

  • Garbage cans
  • Bags
  • Disinfectants
  • Rags
  • Hand-washing stations
  • Small waste bins
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products

Catering Equipment Checklist – The Bottom Line

Ensure you have the proper catering supplies before leaving for an off-site event. Keep your catering tools and equipment list inside your vehicle or in a prominent location so you and your employees don’t forget anything before catering an event. Complete this ultimate catering checklist by adding items you frequently use at your business.

What’s more, you can be even more precise and prepare a separate list for all the kinds of off-site events you’re working with. For example, you can have a dedicated catering buffet equipment list, separate variants for small and large events, etc.

Different services may require different table settings, other cooking equipment, specific holding equipment, or other items. Good luck with your planning!


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