Catering Comeback

Vol. 17 – May 2021

Figure 8 Update

👋Good evening! In this Update, we explore the return of catering. As guests begin to plan parties and events, restaurants have the opportunity to craft their catering programs for new expectations — tailoring the menu toward individualization and small groups.



Episode #4 – The Future of Logistics explores the space between logistics innovation and small businesses.

Episode #5 – Choosing Your Concept discusses modern day restaurant formats available to an operator.

Analysis: Evolution of Catering

Catering has long been synonymous with events like weddings and conferences that feature large groups and shared trays. But for catering to come back confidently, we need new options:

Individualization: Packaging meals individually minimizes contact with shared surfaces, while efficiently serving large groups.

Small Groups: As guests gather in smaller groups, menus need to incorporate smaller portion sizes and packages for groups of 10 to 20 people.

Design: Crafting a Catering Program

A well crafted catering program drives revenue at a high operating margin while connecting with guests in a unique way off-premises. The key is choosing the catering program that is best for your restaurant and guests.

In this design, we review the three common catering formats:

1. On-Demand, Occasion Based Meals  

2. Order Ahead Boxed Lunches

3. Full Service Events

Press: NYC’s Delivery Bubble

As dining restrictions begin to ease, many New York restaurants are reckoning with the future of their delivery programs. We spoke with Eater about how high-end restaurants might maintain their off-premises offerings. “Some restaurants have made more substantial investments in delivery and see it as part of the business long-term.” – Scott Landers