Catering firms are bread and butter for Banqueting Hire Service near Diss

Director, David Robinson, in the showroom of the Banqueting Hire Service at Tivetshall St Margaret. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Director, David Robinson, in the showroom of the Banqueting Hire Service at Tivetshall St Margaret. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

A catering and events hire company is hoping to reach the “magic million” turnover mark in the next two years – with help from its trade customers.

One of the table styles at the Banqueting Hire Service. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY One of the table styles at the Banqueting Hire Service. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Since it was founded a little over a decade ago the Banqueting Hire Service has established a client base across East Anglia, around 80% of which are catering companies.

A team of up to 50 staff during peak season is charged with getting the company’s stock – from glassware and tea cups to aprons and ovens – spick and span after events.

Managing director David Robinson said: “Around 80% of our workload is from caterers. They know they can get the equipment out of the box and lay it straight on the tables. Previously they had to clean everything before it could be set up.”

In January the family-run firm moved from rented premises in Pulham Market to a permanent home in nearby Tivetshall St Margaret – with help from the site’s owners, who run T C Garrett Roofing in Long Stratton.

With outside units in place to store larger furniture, the majority of its warehouse has been given over to an industrial cleaning operation. During peak season, 20,000 pieces of cutlery, 20,000 pieces of china and 20,000 glasses are washed and polished every week.

Mr Robinson, 38, said the move had been highly beneficial for the £822,000-turnover company.

“Now we have got these premises we have found we are more efficient, so if we do want to expand, which I think we will, we can. I would like to see us getting to the £1m turnover mark in the next two years.”

According to Mr Robinson, reinvestment and keeping up with current trends has been key to the company’s success – particularly with weddings, which account for around 70% of its business.

“The industry is very fashion-led, and brides know what they like, so we always have to invest in the next thing. You need an eye for what to buy,” he said.

The firm has a fleet of two lorries and eight vans which can distribute supplies from kitchen appliances to crystal glassware and chair coverings to up to 75 events a week. The largest event the company has supplied is an Anglia Farmers function for 1,600. In the past few years it has also catered for three events attended by members of the royal family.

Family business

Banqueting Hire was founded by Mr Robinson’s father Martin, after his marquee hire company received repeated requests from clients for extra trappings such as chairs and crockery.

After bringing David – formerly a landscape gardener – on board to run the new banqueting hire service, father and son made the decision to sell the marquee company in 2006.

“We could see where the future was going to be,” said Mr Robinson. “At the time there were only a handful of other companies doing this so we came along at the right time.”

The company now caters for weddings, proms, private parties and corporate events.

Mr Robinson Snr runs the firm’s transport operations, overseeing a fleet of lorries and vans.

Mr Robinson’s three siblings and mother also work for the company – younger sisters Emily, who works in the laundry department, and office apprentice Chloe are the newest recruits.

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