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From Wolfgang Puck Catering Kusshi oysters with mignonette sauce
<p> From Wolfgang Puck Catering, Kusshi oysters with mignonette sauce.</p>

6th Annual Special Events' 25 Great, Big Caterers List

The biggest off-premise caterers in special events reveal they expect a 4 percent boost in the number of events they create and a 9 percent increase in revenue in 2013.


After being burned by the recession, caterers are now starting to see business heat up. Taken as a whole, our group of big caterers predicts that their event tally will grow by 4 percent this year over last, with revenue increasing by 9 percent. But with clients still firmly focused on budgets, success will require finesse. Read on for the smart strategies that top caterers will be cooking up …


A Legendary Event, Atlanta


CEO Tony Conway, CMP


2013 REVENUE FORECAST $15 million to $18 million

ON SITE The Estate, Delta Air Lines Museum, World of Coca-Cola, High Museum of Art, and American Cancer Society, all in Atlanta

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Event roster this year has included the DIFFA Dining by Design gala, Magnolia Ball for the Tanner Medical Center, Atlanta Botanical Garden's Garden of Eden Ball, plus events for Atlanta Magazine, Saks Fifth Avenue and Delta Air Lines.

SIGNATURE STYLE A Legendary Event's attention to detail, food quality and visual appeal, exceptional service and range of capabilities--including catering, design, decor, floral, entertainment and valet parking--are what make the company truly full service, management says with pride.


Abigail Kirsch, New York


CEO James A. Kirsch

2013 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 2,500 plus

2013 REVENUE FORECAST $30 million plus

ON SITE Tappan Hill, Tarrytown, N.Y.; New York Botanical Garden, the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers and Stage 6 at Steiner Studios, all in New York City; The Loading Dock in Stamford, Conn.

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Veteran catering operation handles social events, corporate events and fundraising galas.

SIGNATURE STYLE Jim Kirsch and partner/chef Alison Awerbuch run the business co-funded by Jim's parents, Abigail and Robert Kirsch.


Behind the Scenes Catering and Events, San Diego


CEO John Crisafulli

2013 EVENT COUNT FORECAST 300 to 350

2013 REVENUE FORECAST $12 million to $13 million

ON SITE USS Midway Museum Fantail Café

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS Busy with projects for the London Summer Olympics, Red Bull X-Fighters and Susan G Komen 3-Day walk, and already at work on 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Russia.

SIGNATURE STYLE Company notes with pride its high-quality, customized service and menu packages, along with celebrity catering.

TOP TRENDS Top trends include savory cookies, signature cocktails, fruit salsas and infused oils and vinegars used throughout recipes, management says. Budgets have increased and guest numbers at corporate events are trending up, "although clients expect more for their dollar," management says.


Blue Plate, Chicago


CEO Jim Horan


2013 REVENUE FORECAST $24 million (catering only)

ON SITE Chicago Symphony's Symphony Center and the Museum of Broadcast Communications

NOTEWORTHY EVENTS This year's event roster has included four days of events for the KPMG Global Partner Conference along with the Nobel Peace Prize Summit and Museum of Science and Industry Columbian Ball.

SIGNATURE STYLE Blue Plate holds preferred status at more than 85 venues and offers "complete foodservice solutions," management says, including events, weddings, drop-off and restaurants. "As Chicago’s first green certified caterer, we are utilizing the season’s freshest, most accessible ingredients and products to support our sustainable philosophy," they say.

TOP TRENDS "We are seeing the return of corporate events, which is very exciting!" management says. "Competitive pricing across the board remains a challenge, but we feel strongly about maintaining our price integrity, which is in line with our quality food and service."


For the full story, see the May-June issue of Special Events, which is free to ISES members and available to subscribers. Not a subscriber? We can fix that; just click here.

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