Blog, Ideas & Inspiration

Catering Marquee: How to create a marquee catering space

February 2, 2022

Food is such a big part of any event, it’s really important to get it right. Setting up a catering marquee is a speciality skill. Not just for the caterer, but for the marquee provider too.

Catering in a marquee

a marquee at home marquee cateringMost event caterers will be experienced when it comes to using a catering marquee. The quality of the catering area that they are provided with is likely to vary from event to event; this depends upon their requirements, the budget that has been allocated to the creation of the catering area, and the capabilities of the marquee provider too.

Working in a ‘field kitchen’ might sound rudimentary, but it needn’t be so.

A professional marquee supplier will be able to design and build a caterer’s area that meets the needs of the professional event caterer.

Let’s delve a little further into what’s needed to create a successful marquee catering area for your event:

Electrics

Your marquee supplier should provide all of the electrical outlets that your caterer will need. At Inside Outside, we always liaise with our client’s caterers to check on exactly what they will require. Discovering that there aren’t enough sockets on the day of the event isn’t an option!

Marquee electrics are either taken from mains supply or come via a generator. If possible, it’s always preferable to connect to mains; it’s reliable, safer and much more cost effective. Wherever your supply is taken from, it will be down to your marquee provider to understand the draw requirements and to recommend the most suitable set up.

If your caterer is using a refrigerated trailer, it’s advisable that it has its own power supply, separate from that powering the rest of the marquee. Refrigerated trailers draw a lot of power, so a separate small generator is advisable, unless it’s possible to connect the trailer to the mains supply too.

Lighting

You’ll need to ensure that there is ample lighting within the caterer’s area. Your marquee supplier should liaise with your caterer to check their requirements before setting the lighting scheme up.

At Inside Outside, we always supply external lighting to the caterer’s area too. We do this as standard, but many marquee suppliers don’t. We consider external lighting to be crucial for evening events. Your caterers will need to use the outside space for a variety of reasons. External lighting is practical and an important safety consideration too. Your caterers will thank you for ensuring that the area is well lit.

Flooring

The choice of flooring for the caterer’s area will depend upon the suitability of the ground beneath. If the ground is reasonably level, then there will be no need for expensive boarded flooring in the space.

Safety is key in the kitchen, so Inside Outside always supply non-slip flooring for catering marquee areas as standard. It’s a small detail but hugely important and is something that is often overlooked by marquee suppliers unless it’s specifically requested by the client.

Water supply

It’s rare, but not unheard of, for a catering marquee area to have access to a mains water supply. This means that the caterer will need to provide a water bowser large enough to service the event. Some caterers – those that regularly service marquee events – will have their own bowsers. Others may need to hire them in for the event. This could add extra expense to your catering costs, so it’s worth checking up front.

Furniture and kitchen equipment

Furniture and kitchen equipment requirements vary event to event. The needs will be dependant upon the number of guests, and the type of food being prepared in the space.

Your marquee supplier should liaise with your caterer to understand exactly what they will need. Most caterers will supply or hire all of the equipment that they need. It’s rare for a marquee supplier to get involved in the acquisition of catering equipment.

That said, trestle tables are usually the remit of the marquee supplier. So, it’s important that both caterer and marquee provider are on the same page. Trestle tables are the caterers food prep spaces, so will be crucial to the catering service!

Trestle tables often need leg extenders to bring them up to a suitable height for kitchen work. It will be down to your marquee supplier to check with your caterer, and supply and fit leg extenders to trestle tables as required.

Caterers’ baffles

What is a caterers’ baffle? A caterers’ baffle is quite simple a buffer between the marquee’s entertaining space and the marquee catering area. Your marquee kitchen is likely to have separate in and out doors and you don’t want your guests to be staring into the kitchens, when you’ve spend so much time and effort beautifully theming and styling your marquee!

Caterer’s baffles are optional, their importance depends upon the design and layout of the marquee. Baffles are certainly worth considering and discussing with your marquee provider.

Walkways and covered walkways

Most marquee catering areas are attached to the marquee. However occasionally, for logistical reasons, they may be separate. In such cases it’s worth considering adding a walkway, a covered walkway if you suspect wet weather.

Wet weather contingences such as this can be included as an option and added to your marquee set up at the last minute.

Marquee and catering marquee spaces

If you are considering hiring a marquee for an event and would like to find out more then please get in touch. We are more than happy to advise on catering marquee spaces and can even recommend some of the trusted catering firms that we have worked with on many occasions in the past.

Call 01372 459485 for a no obligation chat and over the telephone ballpark estimate. Alternatively, drop us a line at sales@inside-outside.co.uk and we will get in touch with you.

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