One of the unsung heroes of catering is the dolly or hand truck, and it's often overlooked by new companies that are starting out small. A lot of people figure that if they're a modest outfit, they won't have much to carry, so they'll save some money on equipment by not getting dollies or getting too few. This is the wrong approach because those dollies help keep employees safe while also improving your catering business's productivity. When it's time to order equipment, you need to get at least a few dollies, not just one or none.
Less Lifting, Less Carrying
Your employees will still have to lift and carry heavy items, but the amount of lifting and time spent carrying will shrink dramatically. That means the strain on the employees' knees and backs will lighten up considerably. Dollies have their own ergonomic issues; employees need to be careful not to overload the dolly so that the wheels lock up from the excess weight or so that pulling the dolly hurts the employee's arm and shoulder.
But with the right posture and using care when pulling, using a dolly to transport trays, dishes, and other equipment can reduce employee injury risk and possibly help keep medical insurance premiums down. With fewer potential injuries, your workers will be able to skip less work due to strain issues.
Steadier Serving Dishes
Another reason to use dollies is that the smoother ride helps keep the dishes together. If you've prepared a bunch of dishes for the event and you try to carry each over to the catering table yourself, you are likely to spill something or accidentally drop a tray or two. So dollies also help keep the food in good shape.
Faster Setup and Breakdown
Wheeled dollies travel fast, and using them to transport everything from your van to your set-up table can help make your set up and breakdown a lot more efficient. Pile what you need on the dolly and go--that's all you really need to do. You still have to watch where you're walking, but you won't have to worry about trying to navigate uneven terrain while carrying heavy equipment. If you need to move equipment over to another area, dollies make short work of that, too.
Generic dollies may work best if you are going to have equipment from several different suppliers, but if you're going to get all of your equipment from one supplier, that supplier like Louis Wohl & Sons Inc may have dollies that are specially designed to fit those other supplies more efficiently.