Catering Hire Questions You Shouldn’t Ask

Looking to hire catering equipment? Find out some dos and don'ts from this blog article.

Although we’re primarily an online company, we do get some queries via telephone. We’re happy to answer any questions about how hiring equipment works, about how to order or about deliveries and collections, some questions leave us a bit cold and concern us as to what will happen with an order.

We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the red flags we see with some questions – and what you can do to avoid them.

“I’ve been let down and I need 400 sets of crockery and cutlery for this weekend”

We can guarantee that in the summer we will get at least one call per week from a frantic individual looking to hire a massive amount of crockery and/or cutlery for almost immediate delivery. It’s a call that almost always is difficult because while we don’t want to turn down orders, at peak times of business they are incredibly difficult to fulfil.

From our experience, it’s hard to believe so many people get let down by suppliers for such huge orders. While we understand that weddings can be very difficult and expensive to organise, with this kind of call there are red flags because it almost always indicates that a potential hirer is either disorganised, struggling financially or both.

If we are able to fulfil the order, a lack of organisation on the hirer’s part almost always bites us on the bum as deliveries and collections can become nightmarish and items go missing and/or are broken – causing more headaches sorting that out afterwards.

Our advice is always the same. Plan and book ahead, and always leave some financial room for things that are unexpected to happen.

“I just need some of your standard chairs and tables”

If there is any sentence that is guaranteed to raise the hackles of a customer service representative here, it’s this one. The truth of the matter is there are no standard chairs and tables for all events; we have a large selection available online for a customer to choose.

One of the things we have tried to do with our website is to give as much information about products, pricing and how we work to allow customers to complete their order online. We’re happy to explain anything over the phone about how we work but the decision on which items a hirer wants has to come from the hirer.

The solution here is to clarify what the furniture is for. “Standard banqueting tables” narrows down the choice a bit and enables us to determine from a couple of questions what a customer is looking for. Likewise, if “standard” is code for “cheapest”, then just say cheapest – we’re not going to judge you.

“I’d like 12 sets of crockery”

This is another type of question that will have the customer service question gnashing their teeth. Like “standard” pieces of furniture, there is no such thing as a “set of crockery” on our website.

Again, this is where some decision needs to be made. We can recommend on sizing of plates for dinner (12” or 10”), starter or dessert (8”) or bread plate (6”), but it’s up to the customer to decide which ones they need and which they don’t. Likewise, with cutlery there are two types of knife, fork and spoon along with teaspoons.

With this kind of thing it’s a good idea to know what food and drinks you are likely to be serving and to work from there. Numbers can be adjusted up or down fairly easily whereas having the right kinds of crockery and cutlery is more important.

“I need delivery for 09:00 today as my event starts at 13:00”

It’s safe to say that this kind of call is normally a recipe for maximum stress in the office. The absolute last thing we want to do is to let anyone down – but by this point it ranges from difficult to physically impossible to make any changes to delivery driver routes if we’re not going to be there in time.

When placing an order, it's possible to book a time slot but these are quite wide; our morning time slot is from 8am to 1pm and our afternoon time slot is from 12pm to 6pm. The reason that we do not offer narrower time slots is that it's almost impossible to fulfil them without doing something drastic like commiting a driver solely to delivering that order, which makes it prohibitively expensive.

We also make it possible to see where your delivery driver is without need for calling the office. We send out automated texts on the morning of delivery with a link to our tracking map for your order; alternatively simply visit our order tracking page and enter your postcode and order number.

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