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How to Choose a Refrigerated Van for Catering

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How to Choose a Refrigerated Van for Catering

Catering businesses rely heavily on the easy and efficient transportation of food from their prep kitchen to the event venue. Temperature control is essential during this process to ensure the food arrives fresh and retains its quality. 

One indispensable asset for catering companies is a refrigerated van. Choosing the right refrigerated van involves considering various factors to meet the specific needs of your business. In this guide, we will explore key considerations to help you make an informed decision when selecting a refrigerated van for catering.

How to choose a refrigerated van for your business

How to choose a refrigerated van for your business

A new van for your business is a considerable investment, so it’s important to make sure you take the time to think about all of the options. 

You might choose to lease a brand new van to make the most of the modern features available, or you could save money and invest in a used van. Whatever your final decision, you’ll need to think about the following factors before choosing the right van for your needs:

Size matters

The first and foremost consideration is the size of the refrigerated van. Assess the volume of food your catering business typically handles to determine the appropriate size. 

A larger van allows for more storage space, but it may be cumbersome in urban settings with tight spaces. Conversely, a smaller van may be more manoeuvrable but could limit the quantity of food you can transport. 

When choosing a van, think about your plans for future growth and make sure your choice of van won’t limit you in any way.

Temperature control and reliability

Temperature control and reliability 

Maintaining the right temperature is crucial for preserving the freshness and safety of perishable goods. Look for a refrigerated van that offers precise temperature control options. 

Some models come with multi-temperature zones, allowing you to transport different types of food that require varying temperature settings. For example, you might have a chiller compartment to transport fresh ingredients and then an ambient temperature zone for prepared food.

Whatever the final configuration of your van, you need to ensure that the system is reliable and has a backup generator if the primary power source fails. 

Insulation for your climate

The insulation of the van plays a significant role in regulating temperature. Opt for vans with high-quality insulation to ensure that the cold air remains inside, especially during hot weather. 

Think about the local weather conditions and what you can expect to face every day. Hot and cold weather can impact stored food, so consider how you might account for this.

Power source

Power source

Consider the power source of the refrigerated van. While many vans are powered by the vehicle’s engine, others have a separate power source, such as an electric plug-in option. 

Electric plug-in options are advantageous when the van is stationary, allowing you to keep the contents cool without running the vehicle’s engine. This also allows you to transport the food for longer distances and even store it overnight. Some companies will even use their van for additional storage.

Accessibility

Efficient loading and unloading are critical for a catering business. Look for vans with user-friendly features such as rear ramps, side doors, and shelving systems. 

These features can streamline the process of organising and accessing food items, especially during busy catering events. Remember that most vans can be customised to your needs, but this will be an additional expense.

Maintenance and durability

Maintenance and durability

A refrigerated van is a significant investment, so durability and ease of maintenance are paramount. Choose a van from a reputable manufacturer with a history of producing reliable vehicles. If you’re not sure if they are reliable, ask others in your industry for recommendations. 

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the van’s longevity and to prevent breakdowns that could disrupt your catering operations. Investing in regular maintenance can save you money on breakdowns in the future. A breakdown could not only lead to ruining your stock, but it could also damage your company reputation if this leads you to let a client down

Closing thoughts

Choosing the right refrigerated van for your catering business involves a careful consideration of various factors, from size and temperature control to accessibility and compliance with regulations. 

By investing time in researching and assessing your specific needs, you can make an informed decision that helps you to grow your business. Whatever your future goals and aspirations, a refrigerated van will help you get there.

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