Carlisle Buffet Equipment Buyers' Guide

Carlisle Buffet Equipment

Putting together a buffet requires a lot of planning; you need your food to be presented in an attractive manner while making the best use of the space you have. You also must keep hot and cold foods at safe temperatures, ensuring they maintain their integrity and don't become dry or overcooked. Carlisle offers bowls, platters, chafers, and more to help you achieve these goals.

Buffet Bowls

Carlisle buffet bowls have capacities ranging from as small as 18 ounces to as large as 24 quarts, which enables you to find the perfect size to meet your needs. These bowls are available in clear polycarbonate, black or white melamine, acrylic, and stainless steel, as well as in round, oval, rectangular, and shell shapes. They are durable and dishwasher safe, making them simple to maintain in commercial settings. Bowls can be used for everything from serving vegetables to keeping fruit or yogurt chilled on ice.


No matter what you're serving, you will need the appropriate serving utensils to get the food onto customers' plates. Carlisle serveware offers a variety of tongs in stainless steel and plastic, with different shapes for varying products, including ice tongs, salad tongs, pastry tongs, and general-purpose serving tongs. Ladles are available in various sizes to aid in portion control. Solid and slotted spoons, serving forks, and pie servers are also offered by Carlisle. The Terra serveware line offers a great way to elevate your buffet presentation. This collection has a versatile contemporary design, with its hammered handles, and is made from durable stainless steel for a long life.

Trays and Platters

Carlisle trays and platters are available in acrylic, melamine, stainless steel, and chrome-plated steel, so there is a suitable option for almost any occasion. Most of the stainless steel and chrome-plated trays have intricate scroll-work patterns and textured rims, making them ideal for formal settings. Mirrored acrylic trays are also suitable for formal buffet setups, while clear acrylic and black or white melamine are versatile for use in either formal or casual settings. Platters are great for plating dry items like small sandwiches, while trays can be used to serve hors d'oeuvres on a buffet line or be carried by servers.

Display Covers

Display covers from Carlisle help keep your foods safe from contaminants. These covers are made of clear acrylic so you and your customers can see the food options available, making selection and restocking simple. Hinged rectangular lids allow access from two sides and flat lift-off lids are available for some of Carlisle's specially shaped pans. Lift-off dome-style lids are available in round and rectangular shapes, some of which have openings cut into them for easy access; the covers can serve as sneeze guards for individual platters or trays.


Carlisle chafers and urns include pieces that can keep food and drinks warm, as well as accessible. Beverage urns keep coffee, tea, and hot chocolate warm, while round chafers are ideal for soup, stew, or pasta. Each of these are available in different sizes and are heated by either canned fuel or electric canned heat alternatives. The urns and chafers feature handles for easy transport without the risk of burning yourself.

Buffet Displays

Carlisle buffet displays and risers are a great way to add some height and dimension to your buffet table. Using stands can help you maximize the space you have, as using layers allows you to slightly overlap dishes. Carlisle's mirror cubes are hollow, meaning they can be used as ice buckets or storage containers, in addition to their intended use as a riser, making them versatile additions to buffet tables. Tiered display stands are also available that provide an easy way to display small items while maximizing space.

Buffet Setup

Determining exactly which pieces to invest in is a matter of narrowing down what your business can make the best use of. If you need flexibility in serving, a Carlisle portable food bar may be ideal for your situation. They can be filled with ice to keep food items chilled, have built-in drains to make emptying meltwater simple, and are mounted on casters for mobility. Carlisle trays enable customers to easily carry plates of food and drinks from the buffet line to their tables.

Keep your menu in mind when selecting buffet equipment, but also focus on versatile pieces that can remain useful if your menu changes.

If your business does on-location catering, you should focus on items that offer flexibility for use in a wide range of situations. You might lean more toward stainless steel platters if you plan on doing lots of formal events like weddings, but having some melamine and acrylic pieces for more casual events opens up more business possibilities. If you're going to be serving food on location, consider investing in portable sneeze guards to protect your food. A tabletop food bar basin offers a portable option for keeping food chilled with ice for long periods of time. Those basins are available in different lengths and colors to fit the size and volume needs of your business.