Catering
Overview
 
Catering is the business
Business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...

 of providing foodservice
Foodservice
Food Service or catering industry defines those businesses, institutions, and companies responsible for any meal prepared outside the home...

 at a remote site or a site such as a hotel, public house (pub), or other location.
A mobile caterer serves food directly from a vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 or cart that is designed for the purpose. Mobile catering is common at outdoor events (such as concert
Concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

s), workplaces, and downtown
Downtown
Downtown is a term primarily used in North America by English speakers to refer to a city's core or central business district ....

 business districts.
Events range from box-lunch drop-off to full-service catering.
Encyclopedia
Catering is the business
Business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...

 of providing foodservice
Foodservice
Food Service or catering industry defines those businesses, institutions, and companies responsible for any meal prepared outside the home...

 at a remote site or a site such as a hotel, public house (pub), or other location.

Mobile catering

A mobile caterer serves food directly from a vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 or cart that is designed for the purpose. Mobile catering is common at outdoor events (such as concert
Concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

s), workplaces, and downtown
Downtown
Downtown is a term primarily used in North America by English speakers to refer to a city's core or central business district ....

 business districts.

Event catering

Events range from box-lunch drop-off to full-service catering. Caterers and their staff are part of the foodservice
Foodservice
Food Service or catering industry defines those businesses, institutions, and companies responsible for any meal prepared outside the home...

 industry.

When most people refer to a "caterer", they are referring to an event caterer who serves food with waiting staff at dining tables or sets up a self-serve buffet
Buffet
A buffet is a system of serving meals in which food is placed in a public area where the diners generally serve themselves. Buffets are offered at various places including hotels and many social events...

. The food may be prepared on site, i.e., made completely at the event, or the caterer may choose to bring prepared food and put the finishing touches on once it arrives.

The event caterer staff are not responsible for preparing the food but often help set up the dining area. This service is typically provided at banquet
Banquet
A banquet is a large meal or feast, complete with main courses and desserts. It usually serves a purpose such as a charitable gathering, a ceremony, or a celebration, and is often preceded or followed by speeches in honour of someone....

s, conventions
Convention (meeting)
A convention, in the sense of a meeting, is a gathering of individuals who meet at an arranged place and time in order to discuss or engage in some common interest. The most common conventions are based upon industry, profession, and fandom...

, and wedding
Wedding
A wedding is the ceremony in which two people are united in marriage or a similar institution. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes...

s. Any event where all who attend are provided with food and drink
Drink
A drink, or beverage, is a liquid which is specifically prepared for human consumption. In addition to fulfilling a basic human need, beverages form part of the culture of human society.-Water:...

s or sometimes only hors d'oeuvres is often called a catered event.

Many events require working with an entire theme or color scheme. A catering company or specialist is expected to know how to prepare food and to make it attractive. As such, certain catering companies have moved toward a full-service business model
Business model
A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value...

 commonly associated with event planners. They take charge of not only food preparation but also decorations, such as table settings and lighting.

The trend is towards satisfying all the clients senses with food as a focal point. With the correct atmosphere, professional event caterers with experience can make an event special and memorable.

Beautifully prepared food alone can appeal to the senses of taste, smell, and sight - perhaps even touch, but the decorations and ambiance can play a significant part in a successfully catered event.

Catering is often sold on a per-person basis, meaning that there is a flat price for each additional person. However, things like lighting and fire permits are not scaled with the guest count, so per-person pricing is not always appropriate. It is necessary to keep the cost of the food and supplies below a price margin
Profit margin
Profit margin, net margin, net profit margin or net profit ratio all refer to a measure of profitability. It is calculated by finding the net profit as a percentage of the revenue.Net profit Margin = x100...

 in order to make a profit on the catering.

As many others in the food service industry, caterers and their staff work long hours. It is not uncommon for them to work on holidays or 7 days a week during holiday event seasons.

A comprehensive, formal full-service catering proposal is likely to include the following time-line matters:
  • Rental arrival time
  • Staff arrival time
  • Bar open time
  • Meal serve time
  • Bar close time
  • Rental pickup
  • Out-of-venue time

Each of these factors affects the catering price.

For example, a rental quote for an "anytime" weekday delivery is usually much more economical than an "exact-time" delivery.
  • General menu considerations: Clients may have specific dietary or religious needs to consider. these include Halal
    Halal
    Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

    , Kosher, Vegetarian, Vegan and food allergy
    Food allergy
    A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. They are distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions....

     requests. Increasingly, clients are interested in food sustainability and food safety.
  • Hors d'oeuvres: it should be clear if these are passed or stationary. Most caterers agree that three or four passed items are appropriate for the one-hour period prior to a meal.
  • Meal Rentals: May include tables, chairs, dance floor, plants, tabletop (china, flatware, glassware, linens, chargers), bar glassware, serving equipment, salt/peppers, etc. It should be clear whether table and chair setup and take-down is included. Most rental companies do not automatically include setup and take-down in the rental charges.
  • Labor: varies from caterer to caterer, but generally speaking, an event will have a Lead/Captain/Event Manager, a Chef, perhaps a Sous Chef or Kitchen Assistant, Wait staff and Bartenders. The labor on a plated dinner is generally much higher than the labor on a buffet, because a plated dinner involves double the china, and usually a minimum of three served courses, plus served coffee. Simply put, there's a lot more to do. To do it properly requires roughly 10 to 50% more staff. On a large event, this can be substantial, especially if overtime or doubletime applies.
  • Service Charge: Sales Tax, Some quotes will include lighting,liquor permit, fire permits, draping, florals, valet and coat check. Many venues discreetly get a "cut" of the catering bill. Caterers are contractually committed to not disclose this fee specifically in their contracts with the clients. Therefore, catering will sometimes cost substantially more at one venue versus another. Also, caterers must compete with illegal operators. A legitimate caterer will have a business license and a health permit both showing the address of the place from which they do business.

Boxed lunch catering

A box lunch is a lunch consisting of a sandwich, chips, fruit and a dessert. A box lunch is typically prepared by a caterer and dropped off to a location for a client’s dining needs. Box lunches are used primarily in the corporate arena for working lunches when they do not have time to take a break from their meeting yet still need to eat. A box lunch order is placed with a caterer a couple of days before the delivery date and is a cheaper way to go instead of a full sit-down lunch. The box lunch option is strictly a drop-off service and does not offer any type of wait staff or cleanup. The caterer’s only job is to prepare and deliver the food. In some cases, the caterer can set up the food, which means placing the individual cartons on a table or another area that is easily accessible to the clients. A box lunch is prepared for each person, so that they have all of their food in one container. This makes for very quick efficient service. Caterers can offer a variety of sandwiches such as:
  • Roast beef
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Egg
  • Tuna salad
  • Chicken
  • Chicken Salad
  • Vegetarian

The box lunch will also include an individual pack of chips/crisps, a piece of fruit and a dessert such as a cookie or a brownie. Drinks such as sodas, waters and juices will also be dropped off by the caterer in individual containers but may or may not be included in the box lunch itself. The idea is for the clients to be able to grab their box and a drink and go. The boxes or bags should be visibly marked with the type of sandwich included or grouped together for easy identification. The individual bags and boxes allow guests to dispose of their trash at their leisure and keep everything neat and clean. For example, if a company is holding their lunch meeting in a conference room, it is necessary that they can clean up easily. Every individual can simply place all of their trash back into the box or bag to clean up.

Catering Officers on ships

Merchant ships often carry Catering Officers - especially ferries, cruise liners and large cargo ship
Cargo ship
A cargo ship or freighter is any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year; they handle the bulk of international trade...

s. In fact, the term "catering" was in use in the world of the merchant marine long before it became established as a land-bound business. The "Careers Scotland" website gives the following definition of a Catering Officer's duties:

Merchant Navy catering officers oversee the purchase, preparation and serving of food and drink to crew members and passengers. They are also responsible for accommodation services, including the provision of linen, bedding and laundry. They may be in overall charge of administration, organising record keeping, wage payment, and the interpretation of customs and immigration records that apply while the ship is in port.


On larger ships, responsibilities may be shared with the purser
Purser
The purser joined the warrant officer ranks of the Royal Navy in the early fourteenth century and existed as a Naval rank until 1852. The development of the warrant officer system began in 1040 when five English ports began furnishing warships to King Edward the Confessor in exchange for certain...

, who looks after passengers' comfort and facilities such as banking and shopping, while the catering officer concentrates on organising stores, overseeing the preparation of menus and meals and generally managing dining rooms and services. On a cruise liner, catering officers may be known as 'hotel services managers'.


Merchant Navy officers sometimes work in difficult and uncomfortable conditions. They spend long periods of time away from family and friends.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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