Big catering companies expect their revenues to decline 4 percent this year compared with last. The findings come from the latest edition of Special Events' "25 Great, Big Caterers" study, a profile of some of the biggest catering operations in business. The article appears in the May-June issue of Special Events.
The caterers also say they will likely see a falloff of 7 percent in their event load.
Despite the continued challenges presented by the economy, most of the caterers profiled reaffirm their commitment to offering outstanding quality and service.
Some are experimenting with new menus to suit tight budgets. The team at London-based Create Food + Party Design, for example, has been developing "menus that include informal service techniques and ingredients that are less expensive but cooked to perfection with traditional kitchen methods," management says.
One of the most notable developments in catering is the resurgence of picnic menus. The appeal of familiar foods in a casual setting is proving attractive to clients, even for weddings.
Miami-based A Joy Wallace Catering Production and Design Team, for example, has launched a barbecue and picnic arm, which offers concession sales of its smoked ribs and chicken. “If we find that our upscale catering division cannot meet a potential bride’s budget constraints, we’ll mention our new picnic division and pass the bride’s contact info over to our barbecue team,” says marketing director John McPhee, who currently has a picnic wedding proposal in the works. “Additionally, our concession sales offer a potential picnic guest the ability to taste our cuisine without us having to do a special tasting.” The purchase of two large smokers has enabled the caterer to create a signature product that is affordable to the client and profitable for the caterer.
For the full story, see the May-June issue of Special Events.