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Foodservice Catering Trends in U.S.

Catering revenues in the United States are on the rise, rebounding from a difficult year in 2009. Estimates from Packaged Foods portray an industry in recovery, with a 9% increase to $14.2 billion in 2010. This report predicts that this recovery will continue, with increased sales of 9.1% in 2011 and 6.5% in 2012. Much of this growth is contributed to by the expansion of restaurants into the in-home entertaining industry, increasing budgets for business special event spending, and increasing consumer confidence. Weddings, personal entertaining, and private special events also contribute to the growth of the catering sector both by traditional catering companies, as well as hotels and food retailers.

This report provides knowledge of this burgeoning industry that enables market participants to base strategies on sound analysis. Aspects covered in this report include growth factors, market size and forecast, health trends, key trends in institutional food service, sustainability concerns and technology. You will also gain insight on the catering consumer, as well as the analysis of opportunities for expanding catering services to new life and social events. 

This Packaged Facts report provides the insight and analysis market participants need to plan their catering and foodservice strategies. Key coverage includes the following:

  • A market size and forecast for the catering industry, including caterers; full-service restaurants; limited-service restaurants; snack and non-alcoholic beverage establishments; foodservice contractors; and hotels.
  • Key factors to catering growth: travel, hotels and accommodations, and holiday party spending
  • Trended consumer catering expenditures by demographic.
  • Catering trends within the institutional foodservice category, with a focus on hospitals and colleges and universities.
  • Restaurant catering operation tracking
  • Catering macro-trend analysis, including the economy; sustainability and environmental concerns; technology; food & celebrity chef familiarity; and health trends.
  • Insight on the “catered meals” consumer, including stand-alone analysis as well as restaurant, institutional foodservice and food retail context.
  • Catering operations analysis of a mixture of restaurant, food retail, foodservice contractor, and caterer companies, such as Panera Bread, Whole Foods Market, Compass Group, and Blue Plate Catering.
  • Catering “opportunity analysis” of significant life events (such as births, weddings, and funerals) as well as significant social events (such as the Super Bowl).


Market Insights: A Selection From The Report


Share of Stomach: Catering Market Size and Forecast
In this section, Packaged Facts provides a market size and forecast for the catering industry. Its scope includes caterers; full-service restaurants; limited-service restaurants; snack and nonalcoholic beverage establishments; foodservice contractors; and hotels.

Insight capsule
• Packaged Facts estimates that 2010 catering revenue reached $14.2 billion, a 9.0% increase from 2009. Going forward, we believe that sales will rise 9.1% in 2011 and 6.5% in 2012, driven primarily by aggressive expansion into the catering space by limited-service establishments, the return of business event-driven spending, higher wedding spending, and a moderately healthier consumer.

• With its high-growth days likely behind it, the restaurant industry must find ways to take in-home share from food retailers while adapting to the trend toward in-home entertaining. This convergence signifies an increasingly competitive battleground for the catering dollar.

Trends afoot

Many of the trends coming to the fore of institutional programs are cost based, a result of tightening budgets and a more pronounced need to demonstrate catering program value. They include the following:

  • Transitioning toward buffets and away from sit-down dinners
  • Transitioning toward pick-up and way from delivery
  • Proving that catering an event serves a purpose to the institution
  • No-frills menus
  • Reductions in selections and/or servings
  • Less costly meats and lower pricing structures

University of Washington Medical Center nears $1 million in catering sales

UWMC serves an average of 1,000 patient meals and 5,000 cafeteria meals per day. The UWMC foodservice department has annual retail sales of $5 million, which includes catering sales of $950,000. UWMC also offers catering. A four person catering staff manages up to 20 events per day, most of which are small staff meetings.

  • Percentage of catering that makes up overall business (2008) - 10 percent
  • Annual catering sales (2007) - $950,000

Summa Health System goes no-frills

Nearly 85% of Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health System's catered events are handled in-house,
the organization does outside catering at a 50% markup.

In the News

Catering Foodservice Rebounds from Recession, Growth Forecast through 2012

New York, January 11, 2010— Though the recession brought a period of famine to the catering foodservice industry, the feast is at hand as growth initiated last year will continue through 2012 due to aggressive expansion into the catering space by limited-service establishments, the return of business event-driven spending, higher wedding spending, and a moderately healthier consumer, according to Catering Trends in U.S. Foodservice by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

"Self-standing catering operations dominate sales, but full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants and snack and beverage concepts also contribute significantly. Driven by aggressive catering launches and expansions, our experts view restaurant-based catering as a growth area into 2012," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts.

Catering revenue exceeded $14 billion in 2010 for an increase of 9% over a stormy 2009. Sales are expected to increase 9% and 7% in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Catering at foodservice and drinking places generated 75% of the catering market size, or $11 billion, in 2010, up 8%. Limited-service establishments are expected to lead catering sales growth through 2012 due to the segment’s ability to leverage moderate menu pricing structures, provide portable fare, and offer in-house operations capabilities.

The recession brought declines in both corporate and consumer spending on catered events. However, Packaged Facts predicts that as the economy continues to recover, businesses will be eager to build revenues again and such eagerness may indirectly fuel the catering business through increased sales meetings, business travel, and convention attendance. Recovery will also spur consumers to entertain with more catered affairs. Weddings, graduations, births, funerals, and other milestones will return as catalysts for consumer spending on catering.

Meanwhile, consumers seeking healthier options have caused a significant change in catering, offering an advantage to companies that highlight the health benefits of their products. Key among these is Subway, which has long promoted the low-fat sub sandwiches on its menu as part of its marketing plans. Other caterers are also seeing a preference for healthier choices, with consumers opting for Greek yogurt, granola, and toasted nuts instead of bagels and donuts, for instance.

Catering Trends in U.S. Foodservice offers the insight and analysis market participants need to plan their catering and foodservice strategies, especially in regard to caterers as providers of single event-based food services. The scope of the market size and forecast is restricted to caterers; full-service restaurants; limited-service restaurants; snack and non-alcoholic beverage establishments; foodservice contractors; and hotels.

About Packaged Facts—Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.

Additional Materials


Foodservice Market Insights

The insights you need, all in one collective series from Packaged Facts.

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Additional Materials


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Chapter 1: Executive Summary
Scope and Methodology
Scope
Methodology
Consumer survey methodology
Market size and forecast
Definitions
Consumer foodservice expenditure trending
Terminology
Share of Stomach: Catering Market Size and Forecast
Insight capsule
Fast facts
Travel, Hotels & Holiday Party Catering Trends
Insight capsule
Fast facts
Institutional Foodservice Catering Trends
Insight capsule
Fast facts
Restaurant Catering Trends
Summary analysis
Catering to Life Events
Insight capsule
Fast facts
Catering Trend Watch
The economy
Sustainability and environmental concern
Technology
Food & celebrity chef familiarity
Health trends
The Catered Meal Consumer
Insight capsule
Catering Company Analyses
Einstein Noah Restaurant Group
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Panera Bread Co
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Subway (Doctor’s Associates Inc)
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Publix
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Safeway
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Whole Foods Market
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Aramark
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Compass Group
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Chapter 2: Share of Stomach: Catering Market Size and Forecast
Introduction
Macroeconomic growth factors
On the positive side
On the negative side
In-home growth factors
An increasingly competitive battleground
Competitive analysis
Packaged Facts catering market size and forecast
Food service and drinking places command largest share
Hotel catering on the rebound
Graph 2-1: Catering Sales, 2005-2012
Graph 2-2: Catering Sales, Annual % Change, 2005-2012
Graph 2-3: Catering Sales, Category Market Share, 2005-2012
Food Service and Drinking Places market size and forecast
Graph 2-4: Food Service and Drinking Places Catering Sales, by Segment, 2005-2012
Graph 2-5: Food Service and Drinking Places Catering Sales, by Segment, Annual % Change, 2005-2012
Share wars
Graph 2-6: Food Service and Drinking Places Catering Sales,
Segment Market Share, 2005-2012
Restaurant catering operations still in a small share of restaurants
Opportunity abounds
Graph 2-7: Restaurant Foodservice Catering, Establishment Penetration, by Category
Catering procurement & service location
Off-premises and on-premises catering generate most revenue
Graph 2-8: Restaurant Foodservice Catering, On-Premises v. Off-Premises
On- and off-premises sales relied on by caterers
Graph 2-9: Caterers, On-Premises v. Off-Premises
Full-service restaurants make room for customer pick-up
Graph 2-10: Full-Service Restaurant Catering, On-Premises v. Off-Premises
For limited-service restaurants, "pick up” plays to strengths
Graph 2-11: Limited-Service Eating Place Catering, On-Premises v. Off-Premises
Caterer analysis
Table 2-1: Caterer Sales, by Category
Fragmented and regional marketplace
Mom and pop still have a place in the catering business
But competition looms
Serving consumers and businesses alike
Table 2-2: Caterer Industry Profile
Solid historical growth rate
Table 2-3: Caterer Profile: 2002-2007
Consumer catering expenditures
Catering sales trends by consumer demographic
Overview
Table 2-4: Consumer Catering Expenditures, 2005-09
HH income plays significant role
Table 2-5: Consumer Catering Expenditures, HH Income, 2005-09
Cultural differences at play
Table 2-6: Consumer Catering Expenditures, Race/Ethnicity, 2005-09
Just the two of us
Table 2-7: Consumer Catering Expenditures, People in Household, 2005-09
Chapter 3: Travel, Hotels & Holiday Party Catering Trends
Overview
Travel industry shows signs of life
2009 travel volume paints a grim picture
Fewer visits = less catering revenue
Table 3-1: U.S. Travel Spending, by Industry Sector, 2008 v. 2009
Breaking it down, domestic leisure, domestic business and international
Domestic travel expenditures
International drops even further
Leisure travel down, but business travel really falls off
Corporate events travel falls into tailspin
Convention center traffic drops precipitously, but signs of life emerge
Table 3-2: Convention Center Traffic Trends
2010 brings relief
Business travel rebound underway
But business travel index remains off 2007 peak
Growth levers: transient business travel and international travel
Table 3-3: U.S. Travel Forecast, 2007-2013
Hotels and accommodations dig out of recession
Almost $4 billion in catering revenue on the line
Whew. Fewer empty rooms!
Occupancy and room rates on the upswing
Table 3-4: Monthly Hotel Room Occupancy Rates and Revenue, December 2009 to November 2010
Checking in with the hotel players
Starwood Hotels Worldwide, Inc.
Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc
Marriott International, Inc.
Red Lion Hotels Corporation
Las Vegas Sands Corporation
DiamondRock Hospitality Company
Corporate holiday spending not a bad word
A look back to 2009
2010 holiday catering season better than 2009? Yes!
Gauging the spectrum: some bad, but mostly pretty good
The bad
Pretty good: National Association of Catering Executives remains upbeat
Pretty good: 6 in 10 organizations plan an end-of-year/holiday employee party
Table 3-5: 2010 Challenger Holiday Party Survey
Where is it going to be? On-site v. off-site?
Graph 3-1: Corporate Holiday Party Location, 2009 v 2010
Checking in locally
Chicago catering makes a comeback
Cleveland: more with less
Detroit tallies big gains
Chapter 4: Institutional Foodservice Catering Trends
Overview
Institutional foodservice is big business
Catering plays a role in most institutional foodservice programs
Not immune to recession
Trends afoot
Day part analysis
Table 4-1: 2010 Institutional Foodservice Catering Revenue, by Daypart
On-premise dominates
Table 4-2: 2010 Catering Revenue, On-premises v. Off-premises
Hospital catering
Hospital users
Bottom line: dealing with illness correlates with foodservice use
Relationship with food changes; foodservice plays important role
Table 4-3: Hospital Users, Foodservice Use by Type, 2010
Catering
Checking in with the hospitals
UCLA Medical Center: Catering at 10 years of age
University of Washington Medical Center nears $1 million in catering sales
Summa Health System goes no-frills
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas succeeds with reduced costs
Reid Hospital & Healthcare Services reaches out
College catering
Checking in with the colleges
University of Oklahoma: A different approach
Notre Dame Food Services: Marketing affordability
Price repackaging with boxed lunches
Miami University sends Direct to You!
Chapter 5: Restaurant Catering Trends
An avalanche of limitedservice restaurant movement
Atlanta Bread
Backyard Burgers
Boston Market
Bruegger’s
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Panera Bread Co
Einstein Noah Restaurant Group
Jamba Juice
Jersey Mike Subs
Noodles & Co
Panchero’s Mexican Grill
Qdoba
Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes
Subway
Wingstop
Not for everyone
Papa Murphy’s
Casual and upscale
California Pizza Kitchen
Famous Dave's of America
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
ThinkFoodGroup
Chapter 6: Catering to Life Events
The cycle of life offers a wealth of catering opportunities
Birth!
4 million catering opportunities annually
A declining birth rate dampens catering opportunity
Graph 6-1: Births and Birth Rates, 2000-2009
Getting to know a first child’s parents
Navigating the income issue
Table 6-1: First Child Born in Past 12 Months, Key Demographics, 2010
Birth expectation differential shifts over time
Table 6-2: Birth of First & Second Child,
Last 12 Months & Expected in 12 Months, 2006-2010
Graduations
More than 6 million catering opportunities annually
Postsecondary opportunity
Table 6-3: Graduation and Degree Opportunity, 2007-08 to 2011-12
Catering to a wide swath of graduates
Widening age parameters
Graduates have income to pay for catering, or at least their parents do
Table 6-4: Graduations in Past 12 Months, Key Demographics, 2010
Marriage!
A one-two punch
Wedding rate significantly declines
Graph 6-2: Marriages and Marriage Rate, 2000-2009
Fewer expected marriages
Table 6-5: Marriages, Last 12 Months & Expected in 12 Months, 2006-2010
Getting to know newlyweds
Table 6-6: Marriages in Past 12 Months, Key Demographics, 2010
Wedding cost trends
Weddings downsized
2010 wedding volume ticks upward
A rebound in the works
Table 6-7: Cost per Wedding, 2005-2010
Expenditures per event on the upswing
Table 6-8: Wedding Reception Food Service & Bar Service Spending, 2005-2008
Death
2.4 million events requiring a caterer’s helpful hand
Graph 6-3: Deaths and Death Rates, 2000-2009
Age is a primary consideration
Table 6-9: 2008 U.S. Deaths, Age of Death
The yin and yang of funeral cost
Everything in between!
Want watch the Super Bowl?
Table 6-10: Super Bowl Ratings and Viewership, 2001-2010
Home viewing the winner in a landslide
Home food spend stagnates
Table 6-11: 2010 Super Bowl Watching versus Food & Beverage Event Purchasing
HH income plays a role
Table 6-12: 2010 Super Bowl Ratings by HH income
Chapter 7: Catering Trend Watch
Economy
Current impact
Outlook
Future impact
Sustainability and environmental concern
Current impact
Outlook
Future impact
Technology helps spur efficiency and build clients
Current impact
Outlook
Future impact
Food & celebrity chef familiarity builds client expectations
Current impact
Outlook
Future impact
Health trends
Current impact
Outlook
Chapter 8: The Catered Meal Consumer
Overview
Note on reading tables and charts
Introducing the catered meal customer
Packaged Facts’ Consumer Restaurant Tracker places catered meal use at 16%
A seasonal caveat
A distinct profile emerges
Table 8-1: Catering User Demographic Profile, 2010
Catering: a small part of a huge foodservice pie
Table 8-2: Foodservice Establishment Meal Share, 2010
In context: catered meal users and foodservice attitudes and behaviors
More comfortable with technology
Strong relationship to institutional foodservice
Table 8-3: Catered Meal Users, Foodservice Attitudes and Behaviors, 2010
In context: catered meal users and institutional foodservice
Institutional foodservice generates highest cross-use
Table 8-4: Catering User Foodservice Engagement, by Category, 2010
Chapter 9: Catering Company Analyses
Retail Foodservice Catering Operations
Einstein Noah Restaurant Group
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Einstein Noah by the numbers
Table 9-1: Einstein Noah, Selected Metrics, 2008-2010
Panera Bread Co
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Panera Bread by the numbers
Table 9-2: Panera Bread, Selected Metrics, 2008-2010
Subway (Doctor’s Associates Inc)
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Grocery Retail
Publix
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Publix by the numbers
Table 9-3: Publix, Selected Metrics, 2008-2010
Safeway
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Safeway by the numbers
Table 9-4: Safeway, Selected Metrics, 2008-2010
Whole Foods Market
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Whole Foods by the numbers
Table 9-5: Whole Foods, Selected Metrics, 2008-2010
Foodservice Contractors
Aramark
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Aramark by the numbers
Table 9-6: Aramark, Selected Metrics, 2007-2010
Compass Group
Strategic direction
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Compass Group by the numbers
Table 9-7: Compass Group, Selected Quarterly Metrics, 2009-2010
Catering Establishments
Blue Plate Catering
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Centerplate
Catering operations
Catering strategy
Delaware North Companies
Catering operations
Catering strategy

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