Both the Catering Equipment Suppliers' Association (CESA) and equipment hire firm PKL are warning of likely shortages in the supply of new or hired equipment to meet increased demand for the 2012 London Olympics if caterers leave orders too late.
"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," said CESA director Keith Warren.
Although manufacturers are making contingency plans, Warren said several members already anticipated problems supplying late orders, adding that caterers near Olympic sites should also consider the possibility that deliveries could be disrupted by route changes, security demands and traffic control.
PKL cited independent research by Caterlyst ](http://www.caterlyst.co.uk/)of more than 4,000 event operators to underline the importance of ordering early. Although almost one-third of firms surveyed had some involvement in and around the Olympics and one-third expected to hire in catering equipment to cater for demand, a massive 70% had not thought about ordering early or the possibility of supplies running dry.
"We have over 4,000 pieces of kit already committed over the summer months and 100 extra kitchens to deliver," said PKL managing director Chris Irving.
"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, including combi-ovens, six-burner oven ranges and servery equipment."
He predicted the shortages could extend beyond basic catering equipment to items such as marquees, dining tables, chairs and toilet solutions.
By Angela Frewin
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