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It’s Getting Warm Outside – Here’s Some Essential Equipment for Your Outdoor Catering

Posted on December 11 2023






Summer is almost here, that means outdoor dining is on the rise. With that being said, outdoor catering equipment needs to be flexible, mobile, strong, & able to handle your menu.

Whether it’s a large reception or a simple business luncheon, you have to be extremely attentive of what equipment to utilize in order to successfully cater to any type of function. Plenty of equipment can be forgotten in the rush to get out the door, such as ice bins & trash receptacles.

Here’s a quick guide to selecting the right equipment for your outdoor catering needs.

Food Transportation & Storage: An outdoor environment means food must be transported reliably from your indoor kitchen to the outdoor dining area. Food storage & transport equipment guarantees that your prepared items stay at safe temperatures & can also help you reduce waste from improperly stored/transported items.

Items to consider purchasing:

       Lids & Containers – essential for keeping foods safe & sanitary. Invest in a variety of sizes & lids.

       Enclosed Tray Carts – one door or two door styles.

       Tray Bussing Racks – select racks that accommodates popular tray sizes.

       Transport Carts – 5 or 6 levels should be sufficient.

       Condiment Dispensers – great for pre-packaged condiments or utilizing pumps with bulk condiments. Consider setting up a designated area so guests can pick their condiments easily.

For temporary placement of food items, utilize the flat surface of a worktable. Consider how many tables you’ll need to support your outdoor dining area & other prep areas as well.

Make sure your equipment is outfitted with casters & brakes for maximum mobility.

Flatware/Dinnerware Storage: Dining outside can be a great experience. However, improper storage of flatware/dinnerware can hinder that experience for your guests. For flatware, you can choose to use silverware or plastics depending on the style of catering. Just be sure to bring a dedicated dispenser for holding these utensils. Complete organization of knives, forks, & spoons will truly be appreciated by your guests.


Plates can either be reusable or disposable, & reusable types can either come in plastics or chinaware. Be sure to purchase a heated or unheated tableware dispenser to accommodate your chinaware. Spring loaded or otherwise, a tableware dispenser is vital to safe stacking of available & clean plate wear for guests to easily access.

Keep in mind that guests typically get a new plate or new utensils for every new visit to a buffet, so you’ll want to ensure that you’re purchasing dispensers that can handle more than enough flatware & dinnerware to serve your guests multiple times over during peak hours.

Serving Drinks: It’s going to be hot outside. So, what about drinks for your guests? An IMC mobile bar station is the answer. Be sure to choose a portable unit that can be easily customized with a variety of options. Consider a bar station constructed of all stainless steel for the highest durability – don’t forget to equip yours with casters!

Drinks are good, but what about the ice? Rather than hauling a full ice machine outside, you can easily use a Cambro mobile ice bin. Many ice bins come in a variety of capacities. Choose the best style based on your outdoor dining needs.

Waste Receptacles: As with any dining situation, there will be waste to deal with. Outfit your outdoor dining area with multiple Winco waste receptacles to hide the messy look of any trash or garbage you have in your outdoor dining area.

Consider a receptacle that has multiple cutouts for waste and/or recyclables. Use outdoor trash receptacles that are weather resistant & will stand up against some of the harshest climates.

Portable Hand Washing: It’s a good idea to set up an IMC portable hand washing station without plumbing. This will encourage hand washing habits & help keep everyone healthy in your outdoor dining space.

Be sure your portable hand sink is equipped with a hot water heater, removable fresh water tank, & a removable waste water tank. Electricity is also required. Situate the sink near a power source for the best operation possible.

A hand washing station may also be required based on legal requirements. More specifically, there are legal requirements when matching portable sinks to the number of toilets. Some jurisdictions require one station for every four toilets, some even more. Check your local codes & regulations for further assistance.

At Superior Equipment, we carry a wide variety of products to furnish your outdoor dining area. All items are constructed of stainless steel or impact-resistant, waterproof polyethylene, so they will resist the day-in, day-out abuse of an outdoor environment. Furthermore, casters & brakes can be fitted onto these products for maneuverability. For a complete product listing, please check


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