Mobile Catering Using a Tent?

Hi, I'm in the process of starting a mobile catering/event business. I decided to have a tent rather than trailer as it will have a more boutique/continental market feel. And that's where the fun starts.

I've read all the regs and contacted my local health and hygiene people but I still have a lot of questions (H&S never got back to me).

The main problems is equipment, sinks and flooring. I want to run a griddle, fryer (!!!),Bain Marie, fridge, freezer, and possibly hot water boiler. With as much coming off lpg as possible (I believe it's cheaper?) I would still buy/hire an lpg generator for lights and other stuff that isn't/can’t be gas.

Q1. How do I get gas/elec certificates for non fixed/temporary set ups?

Q2. Are there any reasons I can't have a fryer in a tent? eg, ventilation. They seem to be very high powered. Are there any rules on positioning equipment like fryers?

Q3 I've seen tons of people operating with no running water or visible sinks yet regs seem to say must have hand and food prep sinks both with hot and cold running water? Am I missing something? Is there a cheap/easy solution to this or can I rig a hot water boiler up to the sinks?

Q4 The regs seem to state that flooring is essential, again none of the tents I've seen have flooring! I've heard a rumour it has to do with the length of event? I could be doing up to 3 day festivals so will this be a problem for me; if so is there a platform company out there?

Q5 Is the answer to all of the above is "Just buy a trailer" ? 80)

Any advice would be most appreciated as I keep hitting a wall and there are no certain answers out there that I can find.

Thanks

James

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Jul 06, 2014
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trailer vs tent
by: Anonymous

Hope this is not too late, but setting up in a tent with a fridge, griddle fryer etc! is hard work. You might want to look into a trailer and have it all installed, it allows you to move around a bit more freely without the hassle of opening up and closing down.

Good Luck

Aug 05, 2011
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Discuss Your Idea With Event Organisers
by: David

Hi James,

Why don’t you run this idea through a few event organisers and see what they say, just tell them about your concept and if they open to it.

If they are then great, but if they have similar concerns at least you will know in advance and can take another option.

I just want to make sure that you don’t waste any time or money, and get off to the best start possible for your new business.
Do let us know how you get on, wishing you the best of luck always

Aug 04, 2011
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Flame Retardant
by: James

Hi. Thanks for the quick response. The tent is a specially made flame retardant event/catering tent. I have seen plenty of them about but none seem to fully comply with regs in one way or another. I was trying to avoid a trailer due to cost/the look of them/ height for customer service. I'll have a look at trailer hire though.

Thanks again.

James

Aug 04, 2011
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Using a Tent For Mobile Catering
by: David

Hi James,

Cooking inside a tent is not ideal as the material is highly flammable which makes the cooking area really not safe. Also most people who probably do cook in a tent (for camping) are not running a business and do minimal cooking inside.

I may be wrong but I DON’T think any event organiser will let you cook out of a tent at any of their events.

This will cause too many health and safety issues as tent are highly flammable, not to mention getting insurance to cover you. Cooking inside a tent would ultimately deteriorate the integrity of the tent and therefore not advisable for the long-term.

Also cooking equipment should be on a level base as it could easily be knocked over, and if you have a hot fryer going it’s not ideal.

I personally think it fraught with hazards that don’t make it safe for your customers who may also have young children running around.

Why not consider renting a fully licensed catering trailer and have the tent as an eating area which should solve the problem, and at the same time allow you to create the continental market feel you desire.

Hope this helps

Best of luck
David


p.s Get my free guide on Starting a Mobile Catering Business Guide

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