This is no ordinary summer for the events industry and companies must order early to avoid the headache of equipment not being available
PKL Group , the UK’s leading supplier of temporary kitchens and commercial catering equipment, is calling for event operators and contract caterers to get their equipment hire orders in early after research shows this summer’s events – including the Diamond Jubilee and the games – could put a strain on availability.
The research, conducted by independent data house Caterlyst, surveyed a pool of 4,370 event operators – including venues, caterers, hotels and event agencies – in December and January to find out likely demand during summer 2012.
The results showed that almost a third of event operators have some involvement in or around the games and 80 per cent are catering for over 50 people. Some 10 per cent are catering for more than 200.
Chris Irving, managing director of PKL says: “The type of equipment required to cater for these numbers is specific and some products are seeing very high demand for the summer. It’s not just catering equipment that will be needed, but other equipment such as marquees, dining tables and chairs and toilets, too.”
A third of operators are anticipating the need to hire catering equipment in order to meet demands, and 20 per cent will be hiring both temporary kitchens and catering equipment.
Irving adds: “With a third of events needing temporary kitchens and/or equipment, demand will be strong for the few UK companies who supply this sector.”
However, the research shows that 66 per cent of respondents have not considered that there might be a shortage of vital equipment, despite there being a limited number of suppliers who draw on a finite pool of stock. Many companies believe that the stock shortage will have no impact on their business operations over the summer.
Irving says: “It’s understandable that operators haven’t thought about the bigger picture – but this research shows that they must do so in order to safeguard their planned events. Event operators must get their orders in early. Those who leave ordering until early summer risk equipment not being available to meet their needs.
“In any other year, this would not present a problem but it seems that many operators assume their first choice of equipment will be there when they need it. This is an extraordinary summer for the UK events industry and we need to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
“While PKL has made capital investment to anticipate high demand, it is likely that those who do not book early may not be able to get their first choice of hire items. We have more than 4,000 pieces of kit already committed over the summer months and 100 extra kitchens to deliver. With only four or five major catering equipment hire companies in the UK, it’s likely that all of us will see shortages of some lines, such as combination ovens, six-burner oven ranges and serving equipment.
“However, as more than 75 per cent of PKL business is outside this summer’s events, the business is taking great care to ensure that regular customers order early and their needs are met. PKL has also created dedicated project and operational support teams to deal with the extra demands over the summer in order to ensure that all customers continue to enjoy their usual high levels of service.”
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PKL Group in numbers
Business started: 1985
Location: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Anticipated turnover for 2011/12: £20m
Number of employees: 90
Units out in the field: 1,000
People fed every day using PKL equipment: 100,000 – 500,000