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Choosing Commercial Catering Equipment

Just as when you begin choosing any type of kitchen equipment, choosing commercial catering equipment can very easily be an overwhelming task. You can easily get yourself into a financial and culinary mess if you don't know what to look for. Well, that doesn't need to be a worry anymore. Simply use these guidelines to help you determine what you need before going out and spending a few thousand dollars. As you work through the questions write down your answers, that way as you look around, you will know exactly what you need.

  • What style of food? Before you can actually begin choosing your equipment, you will need to decide on what style of food you will be preparing. Believe it or not, many different styles of food require unique catering equipment. For example, are you going to be serving primarily hot food, or is it more likely going to be chilled or frozen desserts? While there may be some similarities in the equipment, there are still going to be enough differences that you will need to know your style.
  • What kind of catering? Are you going to be preparing your food on site? Maybe you will prepare it offsite and transport it to a different location? Each style of catering will require different types of equipment. For example, if you will be preparing your food offsite then you will need not only chaffing dishes to keep it warm when you serve it, but also equipment that will keep it warm in transit.
  • What do you need for your business? Keep in mind exactly what your needs are, as opposed to what you would like to have. Your definition of need should never be: "I want that, so I need it." Be realistic in your assessment of what you need, and perhaps call around to existing restaurants that offer catering services. They may let you look around in their kitchen to see what type of equipment they have, so you can actually have a realistic idea of what you will need for your business.
  • How much space do you have? Are you going to be working out of your home kitchen? Will you be converting your garage to a professional kitchen? Will you be opening a business somewhere else? Wherever you decide to open your business, or even if you are looking to have a few professional pieces of equipment at home, you will need to know how much space you can use. Many pieces of catering equipment are large and bulky, and as such will take up space. Make sure that you have the space to store your new item, before you purchase it.
  • What is your budget? Considering that these pieces of equipment can be fairly expensive, it makes sense that you have the money to pay for it. Figure out what you can afford to spend, and stick to that budget!

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