FSD 2008 Catering Study

Innovation and diversification could be key to non-commercial caterers surviving 2009.

All types of business: The types of services rendered can run the gamut from breakfast to receptions. Among operators who offer catering, 94% cater breakfasts, 89% do deli meat/salad/buffet lunches, 89% do break service, 87% do hot/cold buffets, 84% offer box lunches and 74% sit-down meals. Fifty percent do cocktail receptions, which seem to be a service for larger institutions or companies; only 28% of operators with less than $100,000 in annual catering revenue do such receptions, while 92% of operators with revenue of $500,000 or more do.

Catering business leans most heavily toward lunch, with 42% of catering revenue, on average, coming from that daypart. Another 29% comes from breakfast, 21% from dinner and only 8% from special events such as weddings.

College catering is the most expensive. The average per-person prices for college catering were $8.09 for breakfast, $12.27 for lunch, $21.26 for dinner and $30.01 for special events. (Only B&I/contractors was higher for dinner, $25.48, and special events, $37.86.) By contrast, school catering is the least expensive, with an average of $3.94 for breakfast, $6.68 for lunch, $10.72 for dinner and $15 for special events.

Drop-off catering, in which caterers make up and deliver platters but offer no service, makes up a sizeable portion of business for most, particularly at breakfast and lunch. On average, only 35% of breakfast business is full-service, as is only 41% at lunch. At dinner, however, full service makes up 69% of business, and 80% of special events are handled as full-service events. Drop-off service is most prevalent in hospitals and B&I/contractors. At breakfast, 75% of hospital catering and 78% of B&I/contractor catering is drop-off; at lunch the percentages are 69% for hospitals and 72% for B&I/contractors. Even at dinner, hospital caterers tend to do more drop-off than any other segment, 43% compared with only 24% for schools and 23% for colleges, for example.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
vegetables with dip foodservice healthy menu

From Mrs. Dash Foodservice.

There was a time when healthy food meant counting calories, omitting carbs, giving up sugar and going fat-free—in other words, it was all about deprivation.

But not anymore. Today’s definition of healthy means an overall focus on nutrition and wellness that doesn’t mean giving up enjoyment. It’s all about balance: good fats, healthy carbs, better sweeteners, wholesome ingredients and satisfying flavor enhancements. It means food that customers can feel good about, at the same time that they’re enjoying the dining experience.

According to...

Industry News & Opinion

Aramark today announced a partnership with celebrity chef and TV personality Cat Cora that will put a new concept from the Top Chef star in Aramark’s North American business-and-industry accounts.

The new fast-casual concept, called Olilo by Cat Cora, promises a healthy, made-your-way menu, according to the global foodservice provider.

“By bringing together Chef Cora's award-winning brand and healthy cooking advocacy and Aramark's commitment to enriching and nourishing the lives of the thousands of consumers we serve every day, we have an opportunity to elevate the on-site...

Industry News & Opinion

Members of Congress and several advocacy groups gathered on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to highlight the potential loss of millions in state funding because of a Child Nutrition Reauthorization block grant introduced last month, and to call upon legislators to squash the bill.

The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 houses a statute that would provide three unannounced pilot states with block grant funding. Participating states would be exempt from federal nutrition regulations and would no longer qualify for the 6-cent reimbursement per lunch garnered by certified...

Ideas and Innovation
food trucks graphic

It’s no secret millennials crave adventure in their dining experience—about 40 percent seek out any food that’s new and different, according to The Hartman Group. The mystery is how to keep younger generations of consumers engaged as experiential dining quickly becomes the status quo. Noncommercial foodservice operations are getting savvy, anticipating this demand and throttling adaptable spaces forward. Watch out, action stations—new engaging and flexible innovations are afoot.

Moving pieces

Wichita State University designed a platform for the city’s blossoming commercial food...

FSD Resources