Your Guide to Throwing an Elite Outdoor Party

By: Oliver Acosta

Plan Ahead

Recently I decided to the throw an amazing 4th of July party in my backyard. I have thrown several outdoor parties before whether they have been BBQ’s or birthday parties. From past experiences, in order to have this party I would have to take all my knowledge from previous parties and combine it into one extravaganza. The first thing in order to have a successful party is to plan ahead. One way I recommend to do this is to give your guests at least a months notice. As a courtesy this is an appropriate amount of time for people to respond.

In addition with the increasing popularity of other invitation methods such as facebook, email, and e-vite it is essential to have contact information such as addresses and telephone numbers of all your guests. Make the RSVP date far away enough to give yourself the appropriate timeframe of getting all your party supplies together. Once a confirmed number of guests have confirmed, it is time to start the planning of the party. For my 4th of July party I invited about 120 people, and of them 100 confirmed. The guest’s age ranged between 15-75. With such a diverse demographic of guests I knew I needed to set an appropriate menu that everyone could enjoy as well as booking entertainment. Finally no 4th of July extravaganza would be complete without fireworks. At first I decided possibly a pot luck in which all of my guests would bring a certain item to the party.

This can be a good method if done correctly however I thought to myself that it’s very possible with a large group that ten guests could all make apple pie. I mean what’s more American than apple pie and fireworks on the 4th. There is a saying used very often, go big or go home. I decided that for this party I was going all out. I would cook for one hundred people and try to provide the best party experience ever. I knew I had to get started soon so I quickly went into action going to the local price club to purchase things in bulk.

A colleague of mine at work suggested that in order to cater to such a big group I would need some new kitchen equipment and supplies. She suggested I looked on the internet to find a restaurant supply store to help me with my catering methods. After some thorough searching I decided on using Elite Restaurant Equipment. At first I was looking through their site on my own having a hard time navigating and unable to find what I wanted. I decided to call them up and I had a great experience. One of the customer service specialists directed me to a salesman who carefully worked with me to pick out the necessary supplies.


Obtaining the Necessary Supplies

Besides the food, beverage, and entertainment necessary to have an amazing outdoor experience you must also have a diverse line of products. These products included various flatware, glasses, outdoor furniture, stock pots for my world famous chili, dishwashing supplies, a small undercounter refrigerator, skewers, ice cream scoopers, mopping supplies, waste containers, pepper mills, oven mitts, mugs, beverage dispensers, spatulas, stands, and tumblers. The team at Elite restaurant Equipment even suggested a welcome mat to me to help me in greeting the guests.


Outdoor Furniture     

One of the first aspects you must determine before hosting such a large gathering is how to accommodate such a large group of people comfortably. Although my backyard is very large I have several acres I was aware that in order for my 4th of July part to be a successful one I needed to obtain some outdoor furniture and décor. The salesmen at Elite suggested that I purchase some pool and deck chairs, ottomans, and tables.

I decided to purchase 20 longue chairs. In addition I also agreed that added comfort can be achieved by love seats and couches. I decided to purchase several of those as well. Ottomans can not only be used to put your guests feet on but also a good and cost effective means of seating.

The last key item that I needed was tables. I decided with help from Elite Restaurant  Equipment go get both coffee tables where guests can put their beverages on as well as several folding tables. The folding tables were stainless steel. Each one was approximately three feet and the pack was of 12. I was able to now accommodate all of my guests comfortably and elegantly at the same time.  


Flatware and Glassware

Once the seating was complete the next essential items that I needed to purchase was silverware and glasses. The website had two different manufactures of flatware Winco and Thunder Group. Previously I have heard of Thunder Group on the show Bar Rescue. After perusing with the salesmen on the phone I decided to mix and match the various items from the manufacturers.

For slotted spoons I selected Thunder Group legend series made of all stainless steel. For knives and forks I decided to go with the Thunder Group Jewel series. For the spoons the Winco Shangri-La spoons suited my eye perfectly. At first I was skeptical ordering different brands however after receiving them I could not be happier with how they complemented each other. Cups were a major necessity. Winco’s 20oz tumblers seemed like a perfect fit. The mixture of colors available red, clear, and blue seemed to compliment the occasion perfectly. For beverages this was a great choice as if a cup would fall there would be no broken pieces of glass anywhere. Mugs are another piece of essential equipment in order to have a successful party.

Cambro’s 8oz navy blue insulated mug was exactly what I needed. These slick looking mugs can be purchased in packs of 48. I decided two packs is a must in this particular case. For my guests who wish to consume alcoholic beverages I decided that I wanted to get some scotch, martini, beer, shot, and wine glasses. I was slightly concerned that if glasses should break it would be a mess to clean up thus interfering with my guests comfort.

Elite Restaurant Equipment turned me onto something that can revolutionize the beverage industry, polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a strong plastic that cannot be broken easily and is light in weight. Polycarbonate can also be elegantly crafted to look like glass. I ordered my rock, martini, and shot glasses with this material. The wine and beer glasses had to be purchased with regular glass material.


Kitchen Supplies

With the silverware and glassware ordered the next type of equipment I needed to obtain was kitchen supplies. Before determining the supplies necessary it is essential to plan out your menu. For such a large group I decided that I will serve chili and salad as appetizers for main course turkey, shish kebab, burgers, chicken, steak, sausage, and hot dogs. For dessert ice cream and apple pie. In order to accommodate such a large group of people I knew that my Weber grill would not suffice.

Elite Restaurant Equipment recommended a 72’’ Universal gas countertop charbroiler. In order to hold this unit I needed a stainless steel worktop table. With the primary cooking unit in place I was ready to purchase more kitchen supplies. It is important that you obtain the proper supplies. Once your menu is complete you can better gauge what supplies are necessary. Condiments are a necessary compliment to food items to assure palatable foods and overall enjoyment for your guests. Ramekins are a staple serving dish for many restaurants and homes. They come in several materials including porcelain, plastic, and silicone. Plastic ramekins can serve as ideal condiment cups. I decided to purchase the Thunder Group nustone white ramekin in the 2.5 oz size.

These ramekins came in a pack of 12 so I decided to purchase 9 packs of them. With ramekins you can display your sauces correctly, while having a serving tool that is easy to clean. For my famous chili I decided that I would need to obtain a large pot. Elite suggested I obtain a stock pot and a ladle. These pots are available in both aluminum and stainless steel metal types. We decided that stainless steel is more durable and will not get scratch easily making it the better option. I decided on making two different types of chili’s one spicy and one mild. Elite offered Winco and Thunder Group brands yet again. We decided that two 20 quart stock pots would be perfect to make the chili in.

Elite suggested the Thunder Group brand and I was extremely pleased. I now needed two ladles to compliment the pots. Here I decided to go again with a stainless steel metal ladle. Winco had a great selection of ladles. I ended up purchasing two Winco three ounce ladles. It complimented the pots very well and was the exact serving portion desired. For my shish kebabs I needed to purchase skewers. Here again the stainless steel type seemed like a no brainer. Thunder Group’s 10’’ skewers were perfect.

I decided to get two packs of 48 because remember it is always better to have more than less. In order for a person to work the grill correctly it is essential to have an excellent spatula. The Winco steak/burger turned with wooden handle was both cost effective and a great item. The unique shape of this spatula was perfect for helping me flip my burgers in an efficient and organize manner thus giving me more grilling space. Since I decided on making a salad I figured a large part of the prep work should be made on commercial grade cutting boards. Cutting boards are available in both wood and plastic material. After some deliberation with the salesman of Elite we decided that the Winco 18’’x24’’ cutting board was excellent. When working with such heated kitchen apparatuses such as ovens and grills safety is extremely important. In order to have a great party you need to have a safe party. I decided that I needed some commercial grade oven mitts.

Previously I had traditionally just used a towel however with the grill I felt additional safety measures needed to be taken. One thing one needs to decide on before purchasing an oven mitt is the desired heat resistance. Oven mitts can be purchased for 200,400, and 600 degrees. I and the Elite Restaurant Equipment salesman decided that a Winco 17’’ flame resistant oven mitt with a 400 degree heat capacity would be a perfect fit. Every good party ends with coffee and dessert. For such a large group I knew my Keurig maker would not suffice. After getting several coffee machines I decided that the best way to serve each one was in a beverage server. Winco’s 42oz beverage server with push button was exactly what I was looking for.

This sever was available in both white and black colors. Due to the fact that it will be dark I decided the white color seemed better. The last kitchen supply that is necessary to have an amazing outdoor experience is portion servers. In portion servers I decided to get several ice cream dippers or as people outside the industry would call them scoopers. I decided that four Winco two and a half oz dippers would be exactly what I desired. The aluminum material was durable and able to withstand the frozen ice cream very well without any bending.       


Designing the Ideal Table

Once the actual seats are purchased and the food preparations are in order the next aspect to planning a successful outdoor party is designing the ideal table. With a large group like this seating can often get confusing. You want your guests to mingle but at the same time don’t want them bumping into each other or eating another guests food by mistake. One way to alleviate this problem is to have organized table seating as well as place cards. I purchased Thunder Group’s 8’’ stainless steel card stand to help organize the table numbers.

This came in a pack of 12 which was perfect because I previously obtained 12 foldout tables. I also obtained place cards which I put on the table when you walked in so everyone knows where they are seated. On each table I decided that a salt and pepper shaker should be placed for convenience. Thunder Group’s chrome cube salt and pepper shaker set 1/2oz size was one of the best decisions I made. These shakers came in a pack of 12 so I needed two packs. The shakers themselves are chrome plated on the top to add an elegant feature to these traditional shakers.


It’s Cleanup Time

The final step in throwing an elite outdoor party is to have proper cleanup. Sanitary cleanup is essential to any party. With such a large group I was aware that this would not be an easy process. First since it is such a big group I needed to obtain large sized waste containers. I decided along with the collaboration of the Elite salesman to purchase three 44 gallon waste containers. Winco’s grey trash can was perfect. I then needed to purchase three corresponding lids for these waste containers. After I knew the garbage was going to be disposed in a sanitary manner my next concern was washing of all these dishes.

I decided it was necessary to obtain dishwashing gloves as well as stainless steel scrubbers. Dishwashing gloves are available in either latex or rubber material. After consulting with the salesmen we decided that the 16’’ Thunder Group rubber gloves pack of 12 is a great fit. Rubber is more durable than the latex counterparts. These gloves can also be reused and are washable. Thunder Group’s stainless steel scrubbers pack of 12 was not only cheap but excellent at washing all my newly purchased equipment.

Finally I had to clean my backyard area. Previously I had used a swifter wet jet mop however with such a large group and a large surface are that needs cleaning I decided to get a commercial grade mop. After purchasing a mop I needed to find an appropriate mop bucket to accompany it. The salesman at Elite recommended Thunder Group’s 30 quart mop bucket with a wringer. This large capacity bucket fit exactly the amount of cleaning supplies and water that I needed. The Elite team hit a homerun with this suggestion.


An Elite Outdoor Party Summary

The 4th of July party was not only a success but was an even that was spoken about in the town many months after. The food was prepared extremely well and the guests were happy with the outdoor décor. I got complemented immensely from my guests on the beautiful silverware and flatware. The grill made each hamburger beautifully charred and was the perfect size.

The preparedness that I had came in handy immensely. The tables were elegant and the cleanup was a breeze. The fireworks from the beach capped out a truly remarkable and memorable evening for all of us. A deep thanks goes to Elite Restaurant Equipment with whom this event would not be possible without. If you give yourself and your guest applicable time to prepare, order the correct supplies, and make proper cleaning decisions your outdoor party can be simply elite.