Late orders could spark equipment supply crisis

CESA has revealed that some of its members could fail to get products to customers in time for the Olympics if orders are not placed early enough, fuelling concerns that the industry faces a potential equipment shortage this summer.

Research published by Caterlyst last week suggested two thirds of event caterers haven’t even considered the possibility that there might be a scarcity of equipment to hire in the run-up to the Games.

And now CESA predicts a similar challenge could face operators that are looking to purchase equipment outright after confirming that suppliers will have difficulty meeting unreasonable lead times.

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“Although manufacturers are making contingency plans to increase production, several CESA members have said that, if demand continues to rise as they anticipate, they may struggle to supply late orders in time for the Games,” said Keith Warren, director of CESA.

Warren said the prospect of letting down customers remained a genuine concern for suppliers, but said buyers also needed to “make allowances” for the extra demand given the circumstances.

“As the Games get nearer, the problem will be availability: if caterers wait too long they are likely to find that many popular models are in short supply – not just major equipment like prime cooking, refrigeration and warewashing equipment, but also small items such as tableware and utensils,” he said.

CESA said caterers located in and around Olympic sites are likely to face the most difficulties as deliveries could be disrupted due to route alterations, security demands and traffic controls.

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