Preparing for an off-premise event can be daunting. As the demand for catered events grows, the necessity for a well-prepared catering company does too. That's why we've put together the ultimate catering equipment checklist, to assist both restaurants and catering companies in providing unmatched off-site dining experiences.

Whether it's an elegant wedding or a casual backyard BBQ, certain indispensable items on your catering equipment checklist will ensure a flawless execution. Culitrade’s comprehensive list is designed to equip you with all the essentials needed to dazzle your clients and their guests.

Keep reading to learn what items you should always have on hand!

Transport Items

Remember, the journey to the event is just as critical as the event itself. Properly transporting food to maintain its quality is non-negotiable. Items such as insulated food pan carriers, coolers, and glass racks are key inclusions on your catering equipment checklist.

Serving Supplies

Equipping your team with the right serving supplies is a must. Including serving trays, platters, tongs, and tray stands on your catering equipment checklist ensures your team's readiness to provide a stellar service experience.

Display Items

Using display stands not only adds a visual appeal to your setup but also allows for efficient use of space. Tiered display stands are perfect for adding dimension to your buffet and presentation.

Serving Utensils

Want to see how your team performs under pressure? Send them to a catering event without enough serving utensils! When packing for your event, be sure you are considering your guests and your team's needs. Make sure your utensils match to ensure a cohesive look and consider designating different finishes or patterns for different items to make it easy for your team to know what should serve what. Remember it isn't just the food, but the presentation that matters!

Chafing Dishes

To say you can never have enough chafers may be an exaggeration, but it's nearly true! Having a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and designs (IE: divided vs. undivided) will ensure you will always have what you need to serve your dishes properly. Chafing dishes will keep your food at the proper temperature while also making serving a breeze. Be sure you also stock up on accessories like chafing fuel and lids!

Skewers and Picks

Bite-sized foods are always a hit at catered events (think mini grilled cheese sandwiches with a shot glass of tomato soup, Caprese kabobs, or meatballs). Be sure you have picks and skewers on hand to make serving and eating these tiny treats easy. Choose products that are the right size and sturdiness for what you plan to serve.


Serve your guests in style by adding some flair with your linens! Suppose you are not supplying any table linens for the event itself. In that case, it is still important to ask about the linens that will be provided so you can coordinate your linen items accordingly.

Cooking Equipment

If you plan to cook any food on location, be sure you pack the items you need to prepare them! Equipment like portable grills and induction cookers will allow you to make delicious items on the spot so you don't have to worry about transporting delicate dishes or excluding certain items from your menu that can't be made in advance.

Beverage Supplies

If you plan to offer a beverage station, having the appropriate supplies to keep your beverages hot or cold is key. Serving hot drinks is easy thanks to coffee urns and airpots, and be sure to bring plenty of ice to keep your cold drinks ice-cold!


These items will require a bit more thought, as there are so many options to choose from! The first question to ask is if you will be using disposable or non-disposable items. Once you've figured that out, it's time to decide what materials will work best based on your menu. Remember, some customers may be sensitive to the use of disposable products, so if you determine those to be the best items for the event, ask them if using eco-friendly disposables is important to them!

Heat Lamps

Ensure your hot food remains that way by using heat lamps. These items provide even heat distribution over your food to make sure your dishes are served at their optimal temperatures for the entirety of your event.

To-Go Containers

Encourage guests to bring home leftovers! Once you feel like everyone has had a chance to eat, put out some to-go containers so that guests know they’re welcome to bring some food home. Encourage your staff to spread the word to guests, too! Your customers will be glad you’re doing your best to prevent the food that they paid for from going to waste, and their guests will be glad they get to enjoy your fantastic food all over again! To be safe, it may be a good idea to check with your customers ahead of time to ensure they didn’t want the leftovers all sent home with someone specific.

Armed with Culitrade's Catering Equipment Checklist, you'll ensure your team is fully prepared for any event. Reference this checklist and use it as a packing guide to provide exceptional experiences time after time.