Food & Drink
Plates of food - picture credit: Lissa Franke Flickr

What are the top 10 challenges when you hire catering equipment for an event in London?

The London catering market is a competitive one. Yet, it is highly lucrative, with the contracts for blue chip organisations as sought-after as ever.

And the truth of the matter is that London is full of fantastic professional catering companies, all of whom are vying with each other to produce the best food creations for their clients.  The way the food tastes, the way it is presented, the price and the service are all key components of any catering company pitch, and so standards and innovations are constantly being pushed to new levels.

In this article, however, we’re looking behind the scenes at catering equipment.  Whilst many professional caterers have their own catering equipment which they transport between venues.  This isn’t without its issues, of course, as the chances are that different catering events will need different catering equipment.  Plus, you’ve got to buy it in the first place, and clean and maintain it, all of which comes at a cost.

As a result, therefore, many caterers choose  to go down the route of catering equipment hire, as this is usually a simple, cost-effective, temporary and hassle-free solution.  They can even get it delivered to and collected from the venue at which they are catering. And, with the internet providing suppliers at our fingertips, let’s face it, catering equipment hire in London has never been easier!

That said, there are certain challenges and things to look out for when hiring catering equipment for London events, so take a read of these below, which will hopefully save you time, money and effort when the time comes.

Determining what you need

The venue may already have some catering equipment in-situ that you can use, and your head chef may well be able to guide you as to what you need.  Suffice to say that different catering events call for different catering equipment!  Do a precise an inventory of what catering equipment rental you will need in advance – you don’t want to pay out for kit you don’t need.

Space issues

London is notoriously tight on space, and the temporary kitchens in historic, iconic venues even more so.  Even though you might be hiring the catering equipment you need, is there space for it all?  A site visit in advance will certainly help you to determine what space you’ve got to play with.

Rising costs

Fuel and labour are just two of the costs that are on the increase at the moment.  Both of these could impact the price of your hired catering equipment – even though you got a quote 3 months ago, it might not necessarily mean that this price still stands.  You’ll need to check with your hire company!

Transport availability

You can’t have failed to notice that there’s also a shortage of new trucks available as well as HGV drivers.  Some of this is a result of the COVID pandemic in that fewer new vehicles can be produced as a result of a shortage of components.  All this can potentially lead to supply issues from your rental company, so always best to double and tripe check your arrangements!

Sourcing everything from the same location

Keep life simple, and order everything from the same catering equipment hire supplier.  Why?  Because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself trying to co-ordinate multiple deliveries and collections, multiple invoices and having to deal with multiple points of contact.  Find a supplier who can provide everything you need, but this is sometimes easier said than done.

Ensuring the catering equipment is in good condition

It’s all well and good choosing catering equipment from a picture on a website, but is it going to be in good working condition, and clean ready for instant use?  Indeed, many venues in London will require a PAT certificate for electrical items, and LPG certification for gas powered appliances.  Make sure that this is the case by asking your hire company, well in advance.

Choosing a supplier you can trust

Long term supplier relationships are always a bonus, but not always possible.  You need a catering equipment hire company that will turn up at the right place, at the right time, and with the right equipment, first time.  It’s not too much to ask, is it?

Access to the venue

Some of London’s event venues are historic and iconic buildings.  This is great for your guests as these buildings are full of character and interest.  For suppliers and contractors, however, they can be a nightmare in terms of access and loading / unloading.  Working with a London based catering equipment hire company might help, as they will probably have supplied your venue on previous occasions, and so will be familiar with any access restrictions, and so on.

Speed of table service

you might think that the temporary kitchen will be next to the dining hall in many of these venues, but it’s often not the case!  So, as well as hiring commercial catering appliances, don’t forget that you’ll need food storage equipment such as hot holding cupboards and jackstacks, to help keep food at its optimum temperature in between the kitchen and the point at which table service occurs, as well as tray trolleys and jackstacks to help with the clear up afterwards.

Cleaning after your event

After a busy service, you’ve then got to clean all your catering equipment down, ready to send back to the hire company.  Look for a company that offers a ‘return dirty’ service, so you have the option to not clean it, and just return the equipment as-is.  Yes, this will cost you a fee, but when you’re on your last legs, and simply want to save yourself a job, then it could well be money well spent!

So, these are some challenges you might face when hiring catering equipment for London venues.  Tips on best catering equipment hire are all well and good, but ultimately, by working with one of the many London catering equipment hire specialists, you’ll enjoy a seamless experience,  and you and your team can concentrate on what you do best – producing an exciting and memorable catering event that will live long in the memory.

Good luck!

Related Articles