Rolling buffet carts are an essential piece of equipment for many restaurants, hotels, and catered events. If you’re in the market for a rolling buffet cart though, there’s a large variation in choices that can make it difficult to decide what you want.
While it’s important to know what your specific needs are, you need to have somewhere to start with. We’ve laid out four, simple qualities that all rolling buffet carts must have. Don’t buy a buffet cart without knowing them!
Easy to Move Around
Unfortunately, many manufacturers skimp on the quality of their rolling buffet carts and you end up with something that’s near impossible to use for it’s intended purpose.
Buffet carts should be easy to move to where you need them and should stand the wear and tear of being wheeled around. They should also have locking wheels so that when you’ve got it where you want it, it’s easy enough to lock into place and serve from,
When you’re looking at rolling buffet carts, pay attention to the casters and wheels especially. Are the wheel made out of low-grade rubber or plastic? These materials will work for a while, but quickly wear down and can make using the cart an exercise in frustration.
What about the casters? Are they sturdy, industrial strength steel or an inferior imitation? Do they lock into place? Having locking casters makes it easy to park the buffet cart without worrying about it rolling off or all the contents on top being spilled if someone bumps it.
It’s not just the casters and wheels that need to stand up to wear and tear though. A rolling buffet cart is likely to ding a doorframe or two and it needs to be well made so that these bumps don’t break it.
Since buffet carts are made out of a variety of materials, it’s hard to say which qualities you should look for. As a general rule, metal carts are more durable than plastic though in both cases, the thickness of the material plays a central role.
When deciding between metal rolling buffet carts, look for ones that have a lower grade steel. (Lower grade steel is thicker and thus more durable). In our experience 18 grade steel offers the best combination of strength without being too heavy to easily move around.
Whether you opt for a plastic or a metal rolling buffet cart, make sure it’s been constructed to withstand heat and cold. Some carts aren’t properly treated and using buffet servers or leaving hot plates on them can melt or leave permanent marks on the surface.
If you’re going to serve from it, you may want cutting boards built in to assist with serving.
The last thing to remember is that if you’re going to be serving from your rolling buffet cart, it should have a clean, attractive appearance. For anyone that’s worked in the restaurant or catering industries, it’s common knowledge that presentation plays as important if not more important of a role than the actual food and ingredients.
If you’re serving at an upscale event, then your serving equipment needs to reflect that. One way that this is often done is by putting a skirt or table cloth on the rolling buffet cart.
Another option is to choose a buffet cart that comes with add-ons like LED lighting and can be custom branded.
Whatever you think fits best with your needs is appropriate, but don’t neglect the importance of presentation.
Fits your Needs
While ease of use, durability, and visual appeal are all important, the most important factor is that the rolling buffet cart meets your individual needs.
If you’ve purchased carts before and have had problems, make sure to contact the manufacturers beforehand to make sure that what you’re buying meets your needs.
Some factors that you may want to consider including in your purchasing decision:
Multiple Storage Levels – Is there appropriate and sufficient storage space underneath the buffet cart for storing what you’re looking for?
Is there a warranty on the product for manufacturing defects?
A Multi-Purpose Buffet Cart
Our Portable Back Bar was designed to be used as both a portable back bar and rolling buffet cart. It rolls on industrial-strength, locking casters and is made of hardened acrylic panels and heavy-duty, 18 grade steel. It can be customized with LED lights and custom messaging. If you’re looking for the ultimate combination of durability, functionality, and presentation, don’t look any further.