Catering Equipment Key Terms / Industry / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Whether you hope to serve as a caterer for small dinner parties or large, lavish weddings, you’ll need to stock your kitchen ...

Whether you hope to serve as a caterer for small dinner parties or large, lavish weddings, you’ll need to stock your kitchen with essential equipment. To run a successful catering business, you’ll need proper tools and accessories to prepare and serve the type of dishes that your clients request most. Familiarize yourself with catering equipment terminology like chafer, portable stovetop, and food transporter to help you secure the most useful and current tools to suit the style of your catering business.

Countertop fryer

Even mobile catering operations can offer fried dishes with a countertop fryer. The mobile unit can sit alongside the counter top, electric griddles and other cooking appliances to create meals at the event site.

Portable stovetop

Prepare, cook or reheat dishes when catering an event on site with portable stovetops. Check out the power sources you'll have available at the site to ensure you bring stovetops that you'll be able to use.


An essential piece of catering equipment, a chafer can hold and warm food that you've created at the event or brought into the venue. Also called chafing dishes, the units' style and material should suit the nature of the event you're catering.

Food transporter

After preparing appetizers, desserts and other dishes in your commercial kitchen, you'll need a way to move the food to the event location while keeping it warm or cold as needed. An insulated food transporter will maintain the desired temperature and feature handles or rollers to simplify transport.

Commercial microwave

Equipping your kitchen with commercial microwave ovens ensures that you have the capacity to cook and reheat food items before and during the event. Look for models with programmable memory pads to pre-program cooking times and levels for the types of foods you cook most.

Hot food wells

Whether you prefer wet or dry heating, hot food wells can keep several different dishes warmed to specific temperatures throughout a catered event. Drop-in styles allow you to transport the foods securely, then add them to the heating unit at the event location.

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