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Catering equipment: what, who and why

What is the Catering Team?

‘Catering team’ is a pretty imprecise term these days. Obviously, the definition of catering equipment would be something like “equipment used in the food catering industry.” However, what is classified as the ‘catering industry’ these days is not so clear now.

The types of equipment under the umbrella of ‘catering equipment’ range from refrigeration equipment, ovens and cookers to crockery, cutlery and utensils. Many catering equipment suppliers tend to specialize in a certain area, such as refrigeration or crockery, while others try to cover all requirements with a wide variety of equipment in stock.

Who needs catering equipment?

Users of catering equipment are as varied as the equipment itself. Buyers can range from local authorities, hospitals and restaurant chains across the country, to home cooks catering to families and diners.

Some of the major sectors that require catering equipment could be grouped as; restaurants, pubs, bars, takeaways, caterers, local authorities, hospitals and schools. However, this is not a definitive list; Most businesses need catering equipment of some description, even if it’s just a tea cart and cups for an office.

Who makes catering equipment?

Catering equipment is produced all over the world. Some niche equipment is built to order in small workshops, while other equipment is mass-produced in factories and distributed around the world.

As in any industry, manufacturers produce equipment in varying degrees of quality and price. Much of the type of manufacturing equipment now comes from countries like China, which has brought down the price of equipment considerably. Be sure to buy from reputable dealers, as while bargains can be had, the quality can sometimes be reflected in the price.

Some of the big names in the UK catering equipment industry include Parry, Imperial, Sunnex, Robot Coupe, Dualit, Blue Seal, Mondeal, Newscan and CRC.

Who sell this?

Traditionally, catering equipment has been sold by local dealers with warehouses and showrooms in commercial and industrial estates. Vendors are always available to show off products and give advice. However, this type of setup tends to have high overhead, vendors, warehouses, and showrooms all cost money.

The solution that many found for these costly overheads was auction sales. This method was often used for new and used catering equipment. With this type of purchase guarantees were often a problem. Pre-owned and B-grade catering equipment was sold as-seen, often good prices could be had but the shelf life of a product could not be guaranteed.

Now the massively expanding store for catering equipment is online. This type of sale greatly reduces costs, eliminating the need for showrooms and moving equipment to and from auctions. This saving is reflected in online prices, hospitality equipment can now be purchased online new at almost second-hand prices, with the security of guarantees and endorsements.

The constant improvement of transportation networks means that location almost becomes irrelevant. Overnight deliveries can be made across the country and foreign buyers can even take advantage of attractive exchange rates.

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