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5 things you can't forget when you're catering on the go

(BPT) - Providing warm, delicious food to customers on location is one of the food service industry's greatest challenges. If you are a restaurateur, caterer, baker or owner of a mobile food stand, you understand how difficult it is to transport and deliver quality food that maintains proper temperatures and the taste your customers deserve.

Whether you're looking to add a food delivery facet to your existing business or you're looking to improve on your current catering offerings, the experts at ACityDiscount.com offer the following advice:

1. Invest in banquet carriers.

If you don't have a series of banquet carriers and you plan to transport food, they should be your next purchase. Not all banquet carriers have built in heaters, but their natural insulation is incredibly adept at keeping food warm or cold throughout your journey. In fact, you can expect your food to only lose about 1 F each hour it is in the carrier. If you are a restaurateur bringing your food offsite or you own a catering business, these are must-have pieces.

2. Warm it up on site.

If you plan to serve on site when you arrive, you're going to need a series of steam tables, steam wells, or chafing dishes. Many restaurateurs who own buffet-style restaurants opt for built in facilities, however banquet facilities often opt for mobile units. Mobile steam wells / buffet tables allow banquet facilities the freedom to move their displays to accommodate for banquets of all sizes. Chafing dishes can be used in banquet facilities or for on-site cooking. There are a variety of chafing dishes on the market, ranging from economical knockdown units perfect for mobile caterers to elegant banquet chafers ideal for weddings or other high-end affairs. And for food not fit for steam wells, invest in a heating lamp. This piece of equipment is easily transportable and the perfect solution for warming fried foods, pizza, breads or roasted meats - especially if you plan to offer a carving station.

3. Don't forget the drinks.

Achieving the proper temperature for beverages is no less important than the food. Investing in your own traveling coffee percolators and insulated beverage / liquid carriers is the surest way to ensure your customers have that warm cup of coffee to accompany their meal.

4. Keep it cool.

Not everything needs to stay warm. In fact, many items must be kept cool before, during, and after service. The experts at ACityDiscount recommend stationary facilities invest in cold wells or frost tops. This is the best way to ensure your product stays below the 41 F threshold set by health departments. Mobile caterers have fewer options than stationary locales, as it is impractical to travel to a cook site or banquet with a refrigerator or freezer. Though many large traveling caterers invest in refrigerated trucks to transport raw foods to banquet sites, they are not necessary. Insulated food carriers often have optional inserts that can be frozen in advance to help maintain cold temperatures within, and standard coolers can also be used for transporting foods to be prepared on-site. When serving, most caterers opt to fill chafing dishes with ice, as standard cold wells cannot be transported from site to site.

5. Complete the look.

Your delicious food has arrived at the perfect temperature; now complete the experience for your guests. Make sure you have the plates, utensils and napkins that are expected of you. You don't want your perfect food to be forgotten by such a simple mistake. Additionally, it is important to be prepared to cater vastly different events. Every event is different, and caterers that intend on taking all customers must be prepared for something as simple as a child's birthday party, or something as elegant as a wedding.



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