Are you looking to start a food cart business? You’re not alone. The food cart craze is a worldwide phenomenon and a great opportunity for anyone that’s passionate about food to start a profitable and impactful business.
But as with any enterprise, you need to have a certain level of skill and the right tools needed to run a successful food cart.
While sourcing a food cart from a place like Woofemdown can be a relatively easy process, cutlery requirements for a catering business are extensive. Plus, you need to make sure that you have enough of each item to meet the unique needs of your different customers. You must be able to cater to festival goers, the CBD lunch crowd, as well as corporate and other events.
We did some digging around and found the most important cutlery items that you need to start a food cart business. Read on for more.
Corporate and Events Food Cart Cutlery Guide
If you’re starting out today and don’t know what to buy, the following guide is a good place to start. This article is designed to make sure that you have everything you need to make sure your food cart can cater all types of events. Sure, you may have to add a few customized items as your business grows but this diverse cutlery collection will serve you well when you’re starting out.
Metallic cutlery can add an elegant touch to any event, and it’s a great way to impress clients. You can start with heavyweight silverware with a polished finish, or splurge on a rose gold or copper finish collection that’ll set you apart from the rest. If you can afford it, consider getting your silverware etched with your company logo or insignia. Metallic cutlery is ideal for business dinners, formal events, and sometimes even buffets.
Plastic utensils usually come in individually wrapped packages and they’re perfect for catering outdoor events such as picnics, Tikkie parties, taco birthdays etc. Most collections come with textured ergonomic handles and are made from durable polystyrene which doesn’t crack or break.
Plastic forks and knives are suitable for eating salads, desserts, sides and more. They’re particularly convenient because they’re easy to transport and dispose of, making cleanup a breeze after the event.
Unlike a restaurant kitchen, a food cart doesn’t need that many knives apart from a few good quality essentials. Also, the knives you purchase will depend on the style of cuisine that you serve. For example, if you plan on serving meat as your staple, you’ll need cleavers, meat slicing and carving knives, as well as a steak knife and a boning knife.
Generally, you’ll require a good quality chef knife (preferably Asian) that’s sharp and versatile enough to use in cutting vegetables, fruit, meat and fish.
You’ll also need essential table settings such as dinner plates, salad plates, bread plates and even soup bowls. Don’t forget coffee cups with saucers, wine glasses, water glasses and utensils.
If you like you may also add items like sugar, butter, salt and pepper containers that come in unique and attractive designs. Of course, you’ll need centerpieces, napkins and tablecloths to professionally set a table.
When catering an event with a sit-down menu, it’s important to provide essentials like serving trays, water pitchers and bus tubs that’ll make it easier for you to clear tables after the event.
While a buffet seems like the easiest meal to cater, things can get tricky if you don’t have enough cutleries. It’s imperative that you strategically place said equipment so that guests won’t accidentally knock things over while waiting to serve themselves.
The most important buffet tools that you need to invest in include large serving spoons and tongs, as well as a sharp knife that won’t require frequent sharpening. Don’t forget a cutting board from which to serve things like ham, turkey and roast chicken.
Coffee/ Beverage Station
Let’s say you’re catering a business breakfast or brunch event. You’ll need a coffee/ tea station complete with a coffee maker (which you can hire if you don’t have enough moolah to purchase it in the beginning), as well as air-pots, decaf backups and a hot water kettle.
Let’s not forget drinking cups and mugs for both coffee and tea. Keep in mind that some people prefer tea over coffee, even in the morning and especially in the winter. Make sure you have different types of tea available for them, as well as cocoa, dairy and sugar packets.
It’s worth investing in small wastebaskets which you can get online, so that your guests have somewhere to discard wrappers and other waste items from their meal.
Seasoned food cart operators often recommend getting insulated containers and coolers to keep food at an optimal temperature whether you’re catering an indoor or outdoor event.
Other important yet easy to forget items include disposable food containers for storage and transportation purposes, garbage bags, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tin foil and plastic wrap.
How Many of Each Should You Have?
When a client books you for an event, it’s better to have more than enough of everything than have less. Remember that your service is a reflection of your client who is a host to his/her guests, and food is a big part of any successful event.
Once you have purchased all the cutlery and tools you need to start your food cart business, be sure to make a list of everything you own and the individual quantities of each item. This makes it easier to keep track of cutlery and tools that you’ve utilized at events. You’ll do well to make multiple copies of this list and use it as a checklist before and after each event.
The good news is you don’t have to do this manually anymore, because there are dedicated caterer’s apps that you can use to keep track of your stationery without relying on outmoded paper-based systems. This is a great way to stay organized while maintaining the same amount of cutlery at all times.
When the Worst Happens
If you want to see a food cart operator sweat, tell them they’ve left their cutlery behind with only an hour to go until the event starts. This is the stuff that caterer’s nightmares are made of but it’s not the end of the world. Even the best caterers go through this moment no matter how experienced they are.
If this happens to you on the day of an event, you have two options available to you. You can either purchase the missing cutlery from a local supermarket or warehouse that’s nearest to the venue or make a quick dash to fetch it from your kitchen studio. The most important thing is to remain calm in situations like this so you can think clearly and make the right choice.
Well, there you have it! A comprehensive guide with all the cutlery you’ll need to prepare your food cart business for corporate and other events. It includes a lot of forks, spoons, knives and other items that you may not have thought about before.
With these items on hand, you’ll stay prepared for any event opportunity that comes your way, whether you’re hosting a Tikki party or a formal corporate event.