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Pros and cons of hiring catering equipment

Rajesh Rodrigues - Mumbai

Hiring of equipment and services for a banqueting party has been the norm with small caterers because this helps them to cut down on operating as well as maintenance costs. This practice is now being picked up by large, well-established and cash-rich organisations in an attempt to cater to the increased demand from their clients.

Banqueting being a seasonal business, caterers and now hoteliers are finding it convenient to hire crockery, cutlery, hollowware, chaffing dishes and even labour for almost all their temporary requirements. Caterers agree that it is not a viable proposition to stock cutlery, crockery and glassware due to inconsistent business. This is because it occupies space and there are chances of staining and rusting due to non-usage of the product. A leading caterer says, "We need to stock only the basic requirements - cutlery and crockery. Even though we maintain 1,000 units of plates, glasses, cutlery and hollowware, it may not always be adequate as sometimes we have to handle two or more parties at a time. That is why we resort to hiring equipment."

Meanwhile, an official from a Delhi-based catering company, says, "Catering equipment suppliers do stock various products thus providing an alternative to the caterers. For example, suppliers stock silver, melamine, ceramic, copper, stainless steel and other varieties of cutlery and crockery. It is difficult for caterers like us to stock them as we may not use them frequently. The service of equipment suppliers therefore becomes indispensable."

He supplements, "There are times when clients ask for silver cutlery. Besides being not frequently used, it gets oxidised and thus increases the maintenance costs. As a result hiring the facilities makes more sense as it offers a variety to choose from." Catering equipment suppliers stock a wide range of products. Their product range varies from plates, glasses, tables, lighting equipment, chaffing dishes, serving cutlery, etc that would prove beneficial for the caterers.



  • The caterer has to depend on the availability of equipment from the supplier. During peak seasons, the supplier cannot always guarantee the supply
  • The caterer loses the opportunity to customise equipment as he cannot emboss his logo, thereby losing on increasing the visibility of his organisation
  • In the long run, the cost of hiring equipment for a period of time may actually overshoot the actual price of the product. The quality of the hired good may not be consistent as it may be of various shapes and sizes
  • Breakage or loss of equipment may work in favour of the supplier (especially since suppliers charge rates irrespective of the age of the goods as damages)


  • Reasonable or minimum budget for capital expenditure
  • Maintaining low inventory
  • No maintenance costs involved
  • No additional investment on infrastructure
  • Decrease in overhead expenditure
  • Option to use different equipment thus giving the event a new look every time


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