2006 Catering Study: Spreading the word

Half say catering revenue grew in 2006, led by colleges (70% of them) and B&I (66%).

Three years ago, catering customers at Marathon Oil often turned to outside caterers. Now, Carroll of Sodexo says, “probably about 98% order from us. We have at least two vans on the road delivering to other accounts—some are former Sodexho accounts where we’ve continued with catering.”

The foodservice team at Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso, Texas, is also capturing upwards of 90% of in-organization catering business. But that doesn’t stop the team from pursuing off-premise customers. “We did quite a bit of catering with the Salvation Army during the hurricanes of 2005,” says Daniel Coté, executive area chef for Morrison Management Specialists. “We fed evacuees [about 3,000 to 4,000 meals]; last summer, we did over 10,000 meals for the Salvation Army. We also do catering for a synagogue in town, using their kitchen.”


Day parts, drop off help boost catering profits
Plus: Catering menus help showcase the talents of your culinary staff.

Just as non-commercial foodservice is highly segmented by day part, so is catering. Luncheons and lunch meetings comprise 39% of the catering revenue, followed by breakfast (28%), dinners and banquets (26%) and special events such as festivals and, say, campus parties (7%).

Catering at Pennsbury (Pa.) School District, for example, ranges from morning and afternoon coffee breaks, breakfasts and luncheons to afternoon meetings and some dinners, according to Steve Kline, foodservice director for Metz & Associates, which manages foodservice for the district. Catering revenue totals about $40,000 a year.

Standing up: The budget for catering is somewhat limited, but Kline says he’s trying to stay current with trends in order to expand his offerings. “We have gotten away from sit-down meals,” he explains. “Customers want to do more stand-up [events] and grazing, which gives us an opportunity to do different things.” That includes putting more meal production elements out in front of customers: fresh items, carving stations and even chefs, Kline notes.

In addition, he’s “dabbling in heavier hors d’oeuvres” and has developed programs for pizza and birthday parties.
B&I caterers do the most breakfast business (35% of revenue) while hospitals get the most from lunchtime business (48% of their catering revenue).

Colleges, meanwhile, lead in the dinner category: 36% of catering revenue. To grow that business, Dean Wright, director of dining services at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, finds it necessary to increase customer education of what his department offers.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

“Word of mouth is getting out, and every day I get a few more people,” Ryan Carlson, a cook at the...

Sponsored Content
gluten free diet

From Stouffer’s.

A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

According to FoodService Director , 77% of college and university operators purchase their gluten-free...

Industry News & Opinion

Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

FSD Resources