Published : 22nd March 2019
Getting everything just right at an event can be a challenge and a lot of that comes down to logistics. When you’re planning on serving hundreds of people and something doesn’t arrive, doesn’t work, or there simply isn’t enough of something – that’s when the trouble starts!
Like most things in your business (and life) organisation and good people are the key to success. When you’re catering at an event, you know this only too well.
We’ve heard some real horror stories from clients about hiring equipment and other companies that they needed to work with, so we thought we’d help you avoid such disasters in the future.
We’ve built you a sense check checklist!
These are simple checks and questions you can do and ask to ensure you get a good company to supply you with catering hire equipment, and enable you to run the perfect event.
The perfect hirer checklist consists of:
- SafeHire Certification
- Event Hire Association membership
- £10m public liability
- All equipment PAT tested and checked before every hire
- Electrical and gas equipment cleaned
- No hidden charges
- Guaranteed results and delivery
- Good processes
Here’s what they all mean and what to look for…
Are they SafeHire Certified?
One of the best ways to check if a company you’re going to hire from will be up-to-scratch is to find out if they’re SafeHire certified.
SafeHire certification requires some effort and also frequent assessment, so you have peace of mind that a company with the SafeHire logo cares about their trade and customers. SafeHire is the industry benchmark you should be looking for if you want a reliable and safe company to work with.
Find out more about SafeHire here on our recent blog.
Do they have a £10m Public Liability?
Public Liability insurance covers you if you make a mistake or an accident happens because of, or to you, while you’re catering at the event. But if something goes wrong with the equipment and that’s not your fault, it’s the hire company’s fault, why should your insurance cover it?
In reality, their insurance should cover their equipment and that also covers delivering and collecting the kit, too. Some of the events you work at might be for big brands or companies and a mistake with the food and catering at these could result in PR damage or loss of business that could be costly, so you need to be covered.
£10m public liability is the standard to look for.
Ask if all of their equipment PAT tested before every hire
PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing) is essential to a lot of the equipment in a kitchen for outside catering. Catering ovens and hot cupboards are heavy and items like water boilers and chest freezers are susceptible to the odd bang which can cause electrical issues.
PAT testing is an approved examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. We think that all catering equipment with a plug should go through this process each time they go out on hire.
The Health and Safety Executive strongly “recommended that equipment suppliers formally inspect and test the equipment before each hire”, and we like to think they know what they’re talking about.
All equipment should be prepared, checked and tested in accordance with the Event Hire Association (EHA) Code of Practices and PAT Testing should be undertaken by a qualified person.
Make sure all electrical and gas equipment is cleaned
Catering hire equipment gets a lot of use and that means it’s going to get dirty. Each time the equipment comes back to us, we clean it and protect it before it heads out to the next event. Make sure that your supplier does this by asking them if they do too - or ask to meet them at their premises.
Equipment used to make food is obviously going to need to be clean and hygienic to use when you get it. The last thing you need is a filthy oven or a water boiler full of limescale that needs a good clean on site, something which isn’t always possible.
Check their website and online listings for good testimonials
One really simple way to know if they company is reputable is to head to Google and social media. Most companies will have a Google business listing or a Facebook Page, and some have a Yell.com listing or similar, too.
Google their business name and you’ll find the Google reviews on the right hand side of the page and their Facebook reviews (or their page) will be listed there too.
Not sure if you can trust someone? Find out if others recommend them!
Are there any hidden charges?
Make sure you know up front what the charges are.
- What are the charges for loss or breakages?
- How do you ensure you’re not charged for fair wear and tear of larger items?
Asking up front should iron these creases out but make sure you know when you confirm what it is you’re liable for and what you’re expected to be charged for.
How do they guarantee results and delivery?
This is really important, and a question that most hire companies will be fine to answer. Getting the timings and locations right is clearly of the upmost importance, as an oven and crockery for 300 people delivered to a marquee 50 miles away is no use to you.
- What systems do they have in place?
- How do they confirm the booking?
- How do they store the information details like location and timings?
- Who do you call on the day should you have a problem?
These are all areas you’ll want to cover before going ahead with the hire.
How do they guarantee the right items are picked?
And just as above, how does their warehouse work? How do you know that what you order from them is added to your order and then picked and loaded correctly?
Getting to know your hire company is key when you work with them and it’s why we would urge you to visit our warehouse. We want you to be able to see the process and how we store the equipment. Does your hire company actively encourage you to do the same thing?
It’s down to you, ultimately, but if something goes wrong on the day, passing on the blame won’t help, and your client won’t be happy at your choice of hire company.
Be sure to hire from the right company…
Just like any industry, the event catering equipment hiring game is littered with bad guys and good guys. The SafeHire certification goes a long way to rectify this, but it’s not compulsory so you still need to do your due diligence.
If you’d like to chat about your next event then please do contact us now.