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View Full Version : Coolers vs Cambro


ComputerMike
11-17-2011, 10:55 AM
I have my first catering gig coming up and I have a question about coolers. Does any one know the model number or size of a cooler that will fit a standard food pan (12 3/4 by 20 3/4)?

I want my catering business to fund itslef so I can't afford Cambro units until a few gigs down the road and I figured coolers wold be a good in between step. I can sell the coolers off later on Craigs LIst and recover some cost later on or just keep them around for emergencies or overflow.

Captain P.J.
11-17-2011, 01:56 PM
I don't know of any coolers that will fit food pans... But a Cambro 300 is "only" about $200. I just started selling at my local farmers market and doing a few catering gigs this past summer and the cambro worked out great! I think you should pick one up and use that for stuff that you need to get in and out quick. I still used a few coolers for either hot or cold stuff that weren't in food pans but the cambro made my job easier. Best of luck on your catering gig!

ComputerMike
11-17-2011, 03:23 PM
I found a cooler, the Coleman 54QT stainless teel that will fit food pans. The kicker is they are $200 each. Interior dimensions of 23"x"16"16" if anyone is interested. For that price I'll buy a couple of small Cambros.

Its a nice looking cooler though.

http://www.colemancanada.ca/Catalog/COOLERS.Steel_Belted,6155B707G.en.products

FltEng
11-17-2011, 03:48 PM
That price is MSRP; here in the states retail price is $139.99. Not a bad price for a nice looking cooler

Prairie Smoke
11-17-2011, 03:56 PM
Mike, maybe those 100 or 150 quart marine coolers? They're not cheap either but Cambro's up here are $450 and up.
Check it out. http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/5/SportsRec/Camping/Coolers/PRDOVR~0853475P/Marine+Cooler%2C+100+Qt.jsp?locale=en

I was also going to suggest calling the rental places in Edmonton, I can rent Cambro's here in Regina cheap.

RICK Allen
11-17-2011, 04:08 PM
Look into Carlisles at restaurant equippers bought my last 3 for189.00 each and love them, they will hold 4 full size steam tray pans, and are stackable, throw another 200.00 0n for freight and your good to go , mind you that was for 3 lol

ComputerMike
11-17-2011, 04:33 PM
Mike, maybe those 100 or 150 quart marine coolers? They're not cheap either but Cambro's up here are $450 and up.
Check it out. http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/5/SportsRec/Camping/Coolers/PRDOVR~0853475P/Marine+Cooler%2C+100+Qt.jsp?locale=en

I was also going to suggest calling the rental places in Edmonton, I can rent Cambro's here in Regina cheap.

I found a few places that rent them for $35. Where I'm at I'd need three days rental for a two day gig on two units for a whopping $190. I think I will bite the bullet and buy two of teh stackable camcarriers, assuming I can scratch togther the cash.

The marine units look good as well but all the descriptions are missing interiors dimensions. I got the interior dimensions on teh SS unit buy calling Coleman customer service.

Shiz-Nit
11-17-2011, 05:48 PM
I was in the same boat you are in. I picked up 2 coolers from walmart they both were;
Coleman - Xtreme 5 - 170 cans / 120 quart coolers.
I was just in there again today and noticed they are on sale here for $49.00 each.
They will hold a full size pan no problem. I cut a few slats so I could stack trays on top of eachother.

chad
11-17-2011, 08:08 PM
I use 120 qt coolers. Not elegant but have gotten the job done. Also, they are great for holding copious quantities of hot pork and brisket prior to pulling or slicing.
That said, if I had the money I'd have Cambros and stainless pans.

cynfulsmokersbbq
11-17-2011, 11:04 PM
I was in the same boat you are in. I picked up 2 coolers from walmart they both were;
Coleman - Xtreme 5 - 170 cans / 120 quart coolers.
I was just in there again today and noticed they are on sale here for $49.00 each.
They will hold a full size pan no problem. I cut a few slats so I could stack trays on top of eachother.


This is what I use, they also fit the smaller steam pans very nicely. I've used them for two weddings so far. If you have help they are easier to carry into a site than a cambro. And after you have sucessfuly served you can fill it with beer.

PorkQPine
11-18-2011, 10:54 AM
Coolers are nice, I have a few but you really can't beat a Cambro for holding food hot/cold and for looking professional. The ease of use is worth the cash, one job will pay for a couple so bill prior to the event so you can buy your supplies and Cambro's.

gtr
11-18-2011, 11:31 AM
I was all set to buy a big ole cooler and ended up getting a Cambro & was glad I did. It's much easier to slide a pan of beans (or any other sloshy type thing) out of a Cambro than it is to lift it out of a cooler, especially when you're trying to move quickly.

ComputerMike
11-23-2011, 02:19 PM
I ended up buying a Cambro UPC400. It was $325 Cnd. Its identical to this one.

http://www.globeequipment.com/Dining-Room-Supplies/Catering-Supplies/Food-Carriers/Upc400


I also bought 2 extra 2" pans to go with the pans that came with my chaffing dishes to max out the units 6 pan limit. I laso bought 6 flat lids for the pans. I'm good to go. It should allow me to cook for aboput 100 people depending on how much hot food I serve. Pulled Pork and beans shoudl be pushing it for space. If I get a bigger gig I'll buy another UPC400 and trays/lids to fill it.

Thanks for the feedback. I will track down at least one of teh coolers mentioned as a backup.

kurtsara
11-24-2011, 08:05 AM
I ended up buying a Cambro UPC400. It was $325 Cnd. Its identical to this one.

http://www.globeequipment.com/Dining-Room-Supplies/Catering-Supplies/Food-Carriers/Upc400


I also bought 2 extra 2" pans to go with the pans that came with my chaffing dishes to max out the units 6 pan limit. I laso bought 6 flat lids for the pans. I'm good to go. It should allow me to cook for aboput 100 people depending on how much hot food I serve. Pulled Pork and beans shoudl be pushing it for space. If I get a bigger gig I'll buy another UPC400 and trays/lids to fill it.

Thanks for the feedback. I will track down at least one of teh coolers mentioned as a backup.

I don't know about everyone else but we don't use the lids in a cambro if we are going to move the cambro, we cover the pans with foil unless the cambro is on a lower shelf in our vending trailer and we are vending

ComputerMike
11-25-2011, 02:58 PM
I don't know about everyone else but we don't use the lids in a cambro if we are going to move the cambro, we cover the pans with foil unless the cambro is on a lower shelf in our vending trailer and we are vending

I was wondering about spillage. Damn. I think I just wasted about $100- on lids I might not use. :mad:

Prairie Smoke
11-28-2011, 11:41 AM
Those lids make excellent shelves in the Cambro... In case you use disposable pans instead of the 6 hard pans you just bought! The shelves will support the weight of the disposable pans so they don't buckle with the weight of food in them.

ComputerMike
12-12-2011, 01:57 PM
Those lids make excellent shelves in the Cambro... In case you use disposable pans instead of the 6 hard pans you just bought! The shelves will support the weight of the disposable pans so they don't buckle with the weight of food in them.

Awesome. I hadn't thought of that.

I use dthe Cambro for the first time this weekend and it performed amazingly well. I emptied after the gig was over, and closed it up. When I opened hours later to wipe it down it was still hot on the inside.

ComputerMike
12-12-2011, 02:00 PM
Coolers are nice, I have a few but you really can't beat a Cambro for holding food hot/cold and for looking professional. The ease of use is worth the cash, one job will pay for a couple so bill prior to the event so you can buy your supplies and Cambro's.

This is how I plan on growing the business. Take the bigger jobs I don't quite have the gear for and have the first large job pay for the extra gear.

Prairie Smoke
12-15-2011, 08:55 AM
This is how I plan on growing the business. Take the bigger jobs I don't quite have the gear for and have the first large job pay for the extra gear.

Yep, Right on... This is how I've been growing for 4 years now. Not done yet either :rolleyes:

TailGateJoecom
01-17-2012, 03:32 AM
Hey guys, just started reading the boards, came across this thread and thought i'd chime in. For our tailgate parties we use a bunch of white marine coolers we bought from sams club/bjs/costco, they all have a version of them. The 150 qt white ones. Coolers in this size can be kinda pricey at 150-250 per, but the warehouse clubs i guess get some kind of version made just for them and they are around 70-80 bucks. They will hold a few pans no problem. Last year the Jets played a thanksgiving game and we used one cooler to hold 5 20lb turkeys straight from the oven and they held the heat perfectly.

rawtalent
01-17-2012, 05:45 AM
I got sick of cleaning up spilled bean juice from pans so I put them in food grade containers that salads come in. Got some from a restaurant that buys premade salad. Lids snap on tight and keep the contents inside where they belong. Then I just empty the containers into pans at the jobsite. I transport the containers in coolers and panned goods in a Carlisle.

Dr_KY
01-17-2012, 07:29 AM
Flat lids are brilliant for shelves and holding /transferring but we travel wrapped in cing & foil.

RyGuy
01-17-2012, 04:09 PM
I put them in food grade containers that salads come in. Got some from a restaurant that buys premade salad. Lids snap on tight and keep the contents inside where they belong.

Can you elaborate at all? Photos or links? This sounds very helpful.