When it comes to running a successful catering company, one of the most important things to consider are catering supplies. While having great workers and management is also extremely important, without the necessary supplies it just doesn’t matter. While the exact supplies necessary will vary from company to company, especially when niches are involved, but there are many lists out there of general gear which can apply to almost any catering situation. Read on to learn more about many of the supplies which were necessary to be able to successfully run any catering company.Catering-Supplies

Buffet equipment

One of the most common styles of catering is the buffet style set up. If you are looking to provide the buffet style option (which is what most people have in mind with catering) then you will need to make sure to have all the necessary equipment to set up a buffet. This starts with serving dishes. These can come in the form of normal dishes in the case of appetizers like fruit, cheese, and crackers or with deeper serving dishes which can also take propane or butane heaters to stay warm when serving hot dishes from a covered tray.

Other important buffet equipment includes plates, silverware, napkins, tongs, and spatulas. These will all be needed up and down the line, and if you have a chef cutting fresh meat, then cutting boards, heating lamps, and knives are also going to be equally important. Depending on whether this is a simple outdoor set up or something fancier like a wedding, you might need ribbons, flowers, or other decorations.

Table settings

Many times caterers are also expected to have the table settings. While the individuals holding a ceremony or party might put a table cloth over the table, it’s up to the caterers to set the places many times, or at the very least to provide the necessary catering supplies to do so. In the event that you cater to fancier or more high end get-togethers this means you need to have bread plates, salad plates, dinner plates, water glasses, coffee cups, napkins, silverware, and even wine glasses. It’s best to have many table clothes available so even if the host says they’re going to provide them, you’re not in trouble if that falls through mere hours before the ceremony.


Serving equipment

Serving equipment doesn’t just refer to trays that hold hot food in a buffet style set up, but also to trays that wait staff can carry, trays to transport things to and from the buffet table set up or directly to the tables themselves (like salad and bread). Water pitchers or pitchers of other drinks are also important in order to provide full catering service during the event.

Cooking prep equipment

While many areas are going to have kitchens for use, it’s always good to have your own equipment. You don’t know how well heat would conduct through other pans, and come clean up time you may have to pack up everything and go very quickly. By always using your own pots, pans, crock pots, and other piece of cooking gear you will be much more consistent in your ability to provide delicious food no matter where you are going and where you are serving. If you need any type of specialized equipment at all then this is absolutely mandatory.


Insulated containers are extremely important, especially if you’re going to prepare the food at one location before moving it to another where the actual catering event is taking part. You will also want multiple bussing tubs for collecting dirty dishes throughout the night. Don’t forget the plastic wrap and tin foil as you may need these consistently throughout the night, and they’re supplies which are just always good to have around when it comes time for the actual catering event. You’ll always want extra soap and hand cleaner, as well as additional paper towels, rags, and other additional cleaning or sanitary supplies.


If you actually provide bar services then obviously you need a bartender in addition to bringing all the necessary liquor to stock the bar. Even if there is no alcohol involved, then there’s also the area for drinks when there’s a buffet style of set up, so individuals can help themselves to coffee or tea. This section will not only need the drinks and the hot pots, but you will also want cups, sugar, cream, drink stirrers, napkins, and a small wastebasket where guests can dispose of all the little trash.

In Conclusion

These basic supplies will often be expected out of virtually any catering company, and depending on what types of specialty or niches you choose to emphasize in, there will be other equipment and supplies expected of  you as well. But as a basic checklist, this article is a great starting point.


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