The equipment necessary for a catering business includes food preparation tools such as knives, pans, pots and mixing bowels as well as appliances for preparing the food either at the event or in a separate kitchen. Owners also need tables, serving trays, utensils and vehicles to deliver food to events.
Much of the equipment a catering company needs to begin operation revolves around the storage and preparation of food, which may vary depending on how it prepares the meals for events. If the business has a dedicated kitchen space, it needs to obtain stoves, ovens and ranges to cook the food, as well as refrigeration and storage units to keep ingredients and finished items until the day of the event. Companies that prepare food on-site at events need portable appliances and preparation equipment, along with items to transport the raw ingredients to the site. Both versions require a wide range of utensils and cookware to prepare and make the meals.
The catering company also needs a vehicle to transport its inventory to each event -- often, a cargo van or specialty van with a built-in refrigeration unit to keep food fresh. Caterers also need to have tables and tablecloths to set up at the event, as well as serving trays and displays for the food. Some caterers may also need to provide plates, cups and utensils to guests, as well as machines to dispense beverages.