While the rain pours and the latest storm ravages its way across the country it’s hard to think about summer; yet it will soon be upon us. Summer brings with it all manner of events from wonderful weddings and fancy fayres to elegant events and food festivals. It’s a time of year when more and more outdoor catering equipment hire is ordered from us and we start to get busier and busier.

With the explosion of street food culture in the UK more and more people are taking the plunge in launching their own pop up food venture. Naturally, the capital expenditure required to buy the equipment to cook street food can be pretty substantial which in turn leads many of these would-be entrepreneurs to consider catering equipment hire.

We’ve worked with many new street food ventures and seen some great successes – and we wanted to offer our insight to newcomers to the scene how to help avoid catastrophic failure.

Health and Safety

Health and Safety is rightfully becoming an increasing watchword for food festivals as they get larger in size and profile. This can mean all manner of obligations for anyone who is looking to run a street food stall, some of which are also placed upon us here.

Some festival organisers will require that all equipment is insured. We completely understand this and for this purpose we have made available a copy of our Public Liability Insurance certificate for download on this page. This insurance covers all our equipment when in use and can be shown to a festival organiser to comply with any insurance requirements.

Gas and electrical equipment also requires certification to prove separate testing.

Our LPG catering equipment hire is routinely tested by a Gas Safe engineer, who issues certificates confirming that the equipment is up to scratch. Once equipment has been allocated to an order, we can share the relevant certificate via email.

LPG equipment is to be used in a well-ventilated temporary structure. Our drivers cannot assist with attaching equipment to gas bottles and we insist that if you are unsure of how to do this that you contact a Gas Safe engineer.

Electrical equipment is routinely PAT tested. We do not issue certificates to confirm that equipment has passed a PAT test, but we do put a sticker on the plug to confirm the last PAT test date. We can take a photo of this and send it to you when equipment has been allocated to your order.

Know your power sources

One of the chief problems we’ve encountered has been electrical equipment working incorrectly due to problematic power sources. This is why we always recommend LPG for external events as it is safer and has more reliable power.

If electricity has to be used, then the most important thing to bear in mind is what power point you are going to use. It might sound a little bit paranoid but in our experience it’s unwise to trust any outlet that is not fixed and in a wall.

For example, one issue we have come across was where a new street food vendor found that none of their equipment worked when it was plugged in. It turned out that the power supply for all of the stalls was a series of extension cords daisy chained from the wall outlet, and that a piece of faulty catering hire equipment being used by another stall had tripped all the other sockets.

Another incident that is memorable was when a customer found that the five turbofan ovens he had hired didn’t all work when switched on. They were the only things plugged into the generator; but the generator which was rated at 12KW couldn’t deliver the 15KW (5 x 3KW) the turbofan ovens demanded. With no more generators available on the day of the event the customer was forced to turn at least one oven off – more if they wanted to use any other equipment – and manage with what they could.

Indeed, any high-powered equipment like a turbofan oven requires a constant supply of electricity, which extension cords don’t always deliver. This is why for outdoor events we always recommend using equipment such as the 6 burner LPG oven, as LPG is a far more reliable and effective power source.

Know your catering equipment hire

We understand that if you’re new to the street food game it’s possible you will never have used any commercial catering equipment hire before. There can be some real differences between using a piece of equipment designed for commercial use and the stuff you have in your kitchen at home which can lead to problems when using hire equipment.

While we can do what we can to help you, such as supply manuals and technical specifications the onus is on the hirer to use the equipment properly. We can answer questions about equipment before it is hired but we cannot say with any accuracy whether it will be easy for you to use it as it requires information about you that we just don’t have.

It’s also worth bearing in mind when hiring any equipment that we cannot be held responsible if equipment fails when used incorrectly. To use an analogy, if you hired a car then once the hire company had ascertained you had a driving licence they would assume you can drive it. We don’t have to ask for a licence to show you can use our equipment but we have to assume you know what you are doing. If you’re not sure – then the best thing to do is to not hire.