Post-Olympics kit sale threatens to disrupt market

Concerns that the market faces a turbulent summer due to an Olympics-induced equipment shortage have been exacerbated by suggestions the problem could go full circle once the Games are over.

In what could prove to be a volatile few months for dealers and suppliers, experts are warning of a possible post-Olympics equipment surplus as kit sourced specifically for catering events linked to the Games is offloaded into the market.

Chris Irving, managing director of PKL, which will provide almost 90 temporary kitchens for events around the Games, admits there is a very real possibility the market could be flooded with kit come the end of August as hire companies or caterers look to divest excess inventory.

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“I think that could happen, especially perhaps from caterers which want to hire in the run-up to the Olympic period but then have to buy because there is no hire kit left,” he told Catering Insight.

“I guess some of those will want to shift that unless they take a view that they want to own catering equipment, service it, and maintain it themselves, and roll it out the next year. But our experience is that most caterers — certainly event caterers — like organising events, they don’t like looking after catering equipment.”

Another industry source told Catering Insight it was "extremely concerned" that higher levels of kit will be seen in the market towards the latter part of the year due to the Olympics effect, disrupting regular business for distributors and making it more difficult to forecast sales.

PKL has had to order in extra items of stock to fulfil demand related to the Olympics and has already set aside 4,000 pieces for the Games.

Irving said reselling hire equipment that is surplus to its requirements was something that it “periodically looks at” but where possible its preferred strategy is to reuse kit.

“What we have always done with catering equipment is had lots of big sale projects — we put together complexes for clients all over the world and we send ex-hire equipment as part of those packages,” he explains.

“That is something we have been doing for years and we have done two of those this year. We are always looking to hire more equipment out, especially on the Kitchen FM side where we do the contract hire type engagement and equipment is out for long periods of time and we maintain it on site,” he adds.

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