Where to find inexpensive rentals?

29 08 2007

Dear Emily,

Is there a non-profit organization that rents dishes? I just planned and hosted a very large party for my father’s 60th birthday. I was determined NOT to use disposable plates and utensils, but I could only find catering companies that rent dishes, and their cost becomes prohibitive very quickly as the number of diners climbs. I had to settle for compostable plates, but they are not very attractive and I would rather find a low-cost ceramic solution for future big events. Paul

Dear Paul,

Good question – you got my thinking cap on. I’ve never come across any non-profit rental places and in poking around on the internet I couldn’t find any there. I know that if you are a non-profit that you can negotiate better rates….but that’s not your question.

I took a look at the top 3 rental facilities in Vancouver and found plates for around 40cents per plate. With 200 people that comes to around $80 which isn’t that bad but hey, it’s still money. After some more digging I came across a chat room and uncovered a very resourceful idea; Many churches and community centers stock plates and flatware as part of their inventory. It’s definitely worth the approach to see if they might be willing to rent them to you at a low cost or to lend them to you in exchange for a small donation. It’s also worth chatting with a local, neighbourhood restaurant who might be a little slow and looking for the extra revenue in exchange for payment and promotion of their restaurant (give out coupons to all of your guests). Heck – if you have a big party it’s not a bad way for them to get some word of mouth advertising to people in the community.

I hope those suggestions help Paul. And while compostable isn’t sexy, getting the message out to your guests about why you chose the specific plate wear that you did goes a long way. Kudos to you for choosing to invite the environment to your Dad’s party.




2 responses

21 09 2007

Thanks Emily,

Cool post.

4 12 2007

Thanks for the ideas. Catering company rentals seem reasonable until you start adding up all of the pieces: 200 forks + 200 knives + 200 glasses + 200 glasses + 200 wine glasses equals quite a bit of money for the average person. I like the restaurant/community centre/church idea.

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