Catering Concepts

Off-premise catering boosts foodservice revenues

Chefs in foodservice operations of all stripes are bringing distinct culinary experiences to their catering customers, offering everything from boxed lunches to deluxe sit-downs.

University of Richmond, Virginia
Catering is a key activity at the University of Richmond, above and beyond the revenue it produces.

“It is very much a support function to the goals the university sets, especially in fundraising, community engagement and donor relations,” says Diane (Dee) Hardy, associate vice president for campus services at the 3,400-student school in central Virginia.

The university has catered everything from local school board meetings to powwows of national and world leaders, Hardy says, including events as large as 9,000 guests.

Spearheading the efforts are director of catering Joe Wolff, a 25-year industry veteran with a background in Wall Street corporations and senior catering chef Tyler Betzhold, CEC, who has experiences in restaurants, country clubs and a stint in Italy, approaching his 20th year in the business.

For customers who want something unique, exciting and budget-friendly, chef-attended Specialty Action Stations may be just the ticket. An example is the Martini Risotto Bar, which offers guests fresh, hot risotto hand-crafted by the chef and served in a martini glass with toppings like shaved parmesan cheese, prosciutto, peas, andouille sausage, bacon and roasted red peppers.

“It not only adds visual appeal for the customer, it also touches all the other senses,” says Wolff. “You get the aroma of the food, the movement of the chef and, of course, a personalized product to taste.”

Adds Hardy, “Delivering the food that way makes it more special for the guests, even though they are not spending a whole lot more.”

University of Richmond Menu Sampler

  • Thai Style Pork Ribs $15 per dozen (Tailgate Menu)
  •  Martini Risotto Bar $3.95 per person, minimum of 50 
    Arborio rice cooked in shallots, white wine, chicken stock, cream and finished with parmesan cheese, served in a martini glass. Your choice of seven toppings.
  • Mini Panini Station $2.75 per person, minimum of 50
    Choice of two: Mini Reuben, Ham & Cheese, Turkey & Cheese or Grilled Cheese. Served with mini gherkins.