Planning a temporary kitchen

What are the key things that events organisers should consider when planning a temporary kitchen on-site? Lee Vines, Director at PKL Group, a leading supplier of temporary and permanent catering infrastructure, has the answers.

While many events customers know exactly what they require in terms of temporary structures and the number of people they are catering for, it is surprising how many clients leave the kitchen to the last minute, even with major events.

Getting the kitchen resource right is essential when you plan on catering for large numbers of people and of course early stage planning can save money too. Planning from an early stage means you will be in a better position to be able to secure kitchen facilities which meet your event’s exact requirements.

All too often a temporary event kitchen is last on the list as it is easy for organisers to concentrate on the other aspects of the event first. Organisers also sometimes wrongly assume that the venue has all the required facilities and equipment, but then later realise that the caterers require different equipment for their specific menus.

Catering and menu planning is often left until late in the planning process and it is only then that the actual catering facility and equipment required is decided upon. This can result in unnecessary stress in trying to source the right equipment and may mean that compromises have to be made.

It is important to think carefully about what you will require and to put a plan in action in good time. Make sure that you work closely with the caterers too and communicate - we have seen several incidences where an event organiser and caterer have both assumed that the other is looking after the catering facilities.

It is essential, from the start, to choose a temporary kitchen and catering equipment supplier that is CDM Regulations compliant. The new Construction Design Management (CDM) Regulations have resulted in higher levels of safety standards for the events industry, similar to those within the construction sector. The regulations mean that the legal liability for safety compliance of an event now lies with the venue owner and event organisers.

Failing to comply means that organisers may find that insurers will not pay out if an accident occurs. It is therefore important to choose a kitchen supplier who is CDM compliant to give you piece of mind.

There are then four main elements to consider when planning for an event and your temporary kitchen supplier should work with you to identify your needs:

  • Venue – Consider the facilities already available in the venue. Will you need temporary kitchen units and practical solutions such as mobile extraction canopies for installing equipment in marquees, or will you just require stand-alone catering equipment and the smaller details such as crockery, cutlery and glassware?
  • Location – Can the kitchen be easily delivered to your preferred location or is it remote or in a building that is difficult to access? Delivery to tricky locations may require more planning time. Are there adequate services already available on site or will they need to be installed?
  • Menu – What kind of facilities and equipment will you need in order to produce the planned menu? Will you need specific types of equipment? Early planning means you’re less likely to need to compromise on the equipment you need. You will also get more flexibility on your hire plus more choice over delivery times.
  • Time frame – The further in advance that you book, the more likely the items you require and your preferred delivery slots will be available. This is especially important during busy times such as the summer period. More time also gives the kitchen supplier time to understand the site and the challenges it may face, so that delivery can go more smoothly.

PKL Group has launched a new website – www.dontforgetthekitchen.com – which enables event organisers and caterers to get an instant online estimate for their event kitchen or catering equipment hire.