Catering Units using Converted Shipping Containers

Our popular range of catering units are used by schools, restaurants and caterers and can be supplied wood cladded or un-cladded and are produced using either new, used or refurbished shipping containers.

Whether you need that extra space to serve pupils or the paying public, adding a catering container enables you to quickly respond to an increase in demand without having to worry about securing the services of an architect, building contractor etc..

School canteens, for instance, often run out of capacity to serve the increasing numbers of pupils they have and our units offer a quick, cost-effective way to increase catering capacity.

Rather than offering a ‘one size fits all’ unit, our catering units are completely bespoke and built to suit your exacting requirements.

Being completely bespoke, we can provide you with units that are unique to your requirements so you don’t have to compromise your needs.

Conversion Options

Smart repainted blue container with added personnel door and security window

The following are just some of the options we provide for our bespoke catering units.

The number of servicing hatches you require, their position and size. Whether you want a lift up (gas-strut supported) serving hatch or a roller shutter.

The internal hygiene cladding can be wipe clean melamine through to solid PVC food grade cladding that are impact resistant and have a Class 1 Fire Rating.

Electrics can include double 13A sockets, strip lighting or low-energy LED lighting, switched fused spurs for heating, UV insect lamps etc.

smart interior of lined container with security window

Personnel doors can range from single leaf doors through to double leaf doors and all can include vision panels of varying sizes. Doors can also be fitted with key-code locks. You can also choose whether the door opens in to the container or out of the container. We have a huge range of potential doors, all are made from steel and have multi point locking systems. All options are high security or even better.  We recommend your door opens outwards to provide the maximum space for catering equipment and to ensure a good watertight seal between the door and the door surround.

Floor coverings can range from a straight forward vinyl covering to commercial catering floor coverings from suppliers such as Altor or Polyfloor.

We can also include plumbing, drainage and sinks as required.

Each catering unit we built is genuinely bespoke, because of this the possibilities for your catering unit are almost limitless. That’s why we don’t offer a standard off the shelf solution. Experience has shown us that each enquiry and solution is unique.

Here are a few examples of converted shipping containers that we’ve supplied to customers for food and beverage service.

Roller Shutter Catering Unit

Externally wooden cladded container with personnel door for easy access and roller shutter for servingStudley High School, for instance, had simply run out of capacity to serve their pupils and needed a fast, cost effective solution to meet their needs. Their catering unit was produced using a new 20ft standard height shipping container. Within this unit, we had to install 6 no. double 13A sockets some of which were positioned at floor height and some at worktop height. We also installed 2 no. switched fused spurs for them to retro-fit a UV fly killer and a water heater.

Heating was provided by 2 no. wall mounted electric fan heaters that were positioned either side of the serving hatch with lighting provided by 2 no. strip lights.

The serving hatch was an 8ft wide manually operated roller shutter that was fitted in to one of the 20ft sides. The roller shutter mechanism was fitted within the container to avoid it protruding on the outside of the container. The drop of the opening was set to a very specific height to allow pupils to see what food was being served from a chiller/display unit provided by Nisbets.

Non-slip flooring was fitted throughout and the interior of the unit was insulated with Rock wool over which a white wipe clean lining was fitted.

An outward opening personnel door was fitted in the front-end of the container and the container’s exterior was then cladded with wood. However, the exterior cladding had to allow the container doors to still function so that large catering equipment could be moved in and out of the unit.

You can find more information on this conversion here: 20ft Shipping Container converted into Catering Pod for Studley High School Warwickshire

Cladded Serving Hatch Catering Unit

wood clad container with serving hatch on gas struts to be used for serving pupilsFor Didcot Girl’s School, we were asked to provide an ‘up-cycled’ (used) shipping container that would be re-sprayed with a blue paint to match the school logo. Their unit had a personnel door, worktop height sockets, 2 no. strip lights and 2 switched fused spurs for a heater and fly killer that would be fitted on-site.

Their serving hatch was to be a hinged gas-strut supported serving hatch that opened out from the side of the container toward the roof line.

Again, non-slip flooring was fitted throughout, with the interior being insulated and over laid with wipe clean white melamine. The final finishing touch was to wood clad the exterior of the container

Smart interior of converted container, lined, with serving hatch and electrics

Like Studley High School, this unit also required the cladding to be fitted such that the cargo doors could still be operated.

On both the above units, the cladding had to run horizontally around the container.

On both units, we fitted the internal distribution board with spare breaker spaces to allow for future up-grades and the external connection which, in both instances, was a 63A Commando style plug for final electrical hook-up post-delivery.


Other uses for catering units

internally clad 10ft container bar with worktops and sink

The above are just 2 examples of the types of catering units we provided to the schools noted. Other catering options can included bars, cafes and general food and beverage serving containers.

For example, we supplied a 20ft bar container for a theatre company in London. This unit was supplied with 2-lockable serving hatches with the remainder of the internal fit-out being undertaken by their own contractors. The client had 2 serving hatches so that, in peak times, the second hatch could be opened to cater for demand. Access to the container was through a personnel door rather then the cargo doors which were only used when putting equipment in to the container.

A pub in London wanted to make the best use of their outside space in the summer months and had a 10ft unit that acted as an outside bar. The container was fitted with a serving hatch, shelving and electrics. To the outside, we fitted a ‘keg store’ and cladded the exterior with wood.

Food and Beverage provision in remote locations

Refurbished gold/brown container with serving hatches for catering and equipment

We have also offered some ‘cheap and cheerful’ catering/service options for outdoor event sites and activity centres in the UK.

Our first, for Top Dog Paintball in Norwich was a bespoke 32ft used container which we cut to size from a 40ft. We repainted the unit and fitted high security personnel doors and serving hatches which folded outwards to allow for displaying their menus.

Dark brown refurbished shipping container with 2 serving hatches

This paintball site wanted a multi-purpose unit allowing them to serve lunches from one side, and issue paintball and kit from the other side. They requested a used 40ft container, cut down to 30ft long, with our cheapest possible but secure serving hatch option.

The dinks and dents associated with a used containers were a benefit for this paintball site where ‘the rigours of war’

We have also provided a 40ft café conversion for Battlesports Gloucester. They took inspiration from Top Dog Paintballs kiosk conversion which they had seen online but opted for a cut down 32ft unit to suit the space they had available. offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 5pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

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