Catering opportunities offer growth potential for restaurants, retailers

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 1st October 2008

A recent survey by American foodservice consultants Technomic revealed that a substantial number of consumers consistently turn to restaurants and food retailers to fill the stomachs of their guests when hosting parties and other social events in their homes.

More than one in three respondents reported that they’ve ordered meals or platters for meetings, parties, and social occasions, with 79 per cent reporting that these purchases were for personal social occasions rather than work-related events. Moreover, these purchases are made with relative frequency, with 33 per cent indicting they place these type of orders at least once a month.

The findings have prompted Technomic to launch a new study, POP: Parties Off-Premise, which will more closely examine the size of the opportunity, fully evaluate consumers’ catering usage and preferences, and identify ways to successfully build sales through consumer catering programs.

“We know that the majority of these consumer orders are currently sourced from retailers, including supermarkets and warehouse clubs,” Melissa Wilson, Technomic Principal, commented. “However, our initial findings show that chain restaurants have a viable opportunity to capture a larger share of this market and improve same-store-sales without cannibalising their dine-in traffic.”

Ms Wilson also noted that some chains that have already invested resources in developing this business are reporting double-digit sales growth, signifying the potential profitability of a focus on providing suitable options for customers.