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Utility carts (also referred to as foodservice carts) are one of those versatile pieces of equipment that everyone needs, not just the kitchen staff. Utility carts are a relatively small purchase to make, but they make a world of difference when it comes to moving dirty dishes, fresh utensils, and the rest of the necessary extras needed throughout your day. If you're a caterer, or your restaurant frequents special events, add a few utility carts to the mix so you're always equipped both in and out of the kitchen. At Tundra Restaurant Supply, we sell a diverse collection of utility carts from the industry's leading brands like Cambro, Update International, Vollrath, Focus Foodservice, Rubbermaid and more!
Most utility carts are made from either plastic or metal, and choosing which material is best for you really depends on your specific needs. Plastic carts are lightweight and virtually indestructible, making it a great long-term solution for your business. Unfortunately plastic carts often have molded-in handles as well, which means that it lacks ergonomic customization options for each employee. Conversely, metal carts typically vertical handles that may be adjustable to prevent injury when hauling heavy loads. Most metal carts are also made from stainless steel, making it an excellent rustproof, durable option when hauling heavy loads—that said, don't be surprised if your metal cart shows long-term wear (like dents and scratches) more obviously.
When it comes to choosing the best foodservice cart for your business, consider your shelving options. While more shelves may prove useful in hauling more items, you will lose vertical height and clearance. Pay attention to any shelf lips (or lack thereof) on your cart, which not only helps to keep product on the shelf during transport, but it can contain spills too (like soup or beverages). Enclosed shelves are ideal for front of house operations when you want to hide unsightly bussing tubs or cleaning supplies.
A cart is only good as the casters it sits on. Not all utility carts have brakes, so keep that in mind if you're planning to use the cart where the floors aren't flat. You'll also find that casters come in swivel or fixed formats which can greatly affect your maneuverability. Finally, for those working on hardwood floors, spare yourself a big headache by first checking to see if you have non-marking casters.
Ultimately though, the most important factor that should be considered in your next foodservice cart purchase is load capacity. More often than not utility carts are overloaded by staff in an effort to make as few trips as possible. Problem is, overloading your cart is not only a safety risk, but it will quickly reduce its life. Before purchasing, note the overall weight capacity of the utility cart, and remember that each shelf on your utility cart should only hold a portion of the cart's overall weight.
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