|by Robert Banh|
Corporate Catering has often been compared to a restaurant delivery and that notion needs to be clarified. What is expected from a caterer, by name alone, is different than a meal to go from a restaurant and should be, but, often times, they are perceived to be the same. These are not the same thing and the differences are many.
Although we all trust the food will be prepared in a licensed commercial establishment (and not someone’s home) following safe food handling guidelines, once the food leaves a restaurant, the oversight of that food most likely ends. Catering companies, on the other hand, have to maintain the food at safe food holding temperatures for the entire trip to its final destination. To do that, catering companies invest in expensive equipment and insulated food carriers to maintain the temperature of the food being delivered. It’s not just packed up in bags and aluminum pans and dropped off at whatever temperature the food then is after traveling the distance from the restaurant to you. The cost of the two services is different!
Packaging is another factor that influences menu pricing particularly now since the cost of plastic is directly related to the price of oil. For restaurants, particularly chains, the cost of the packaging is more economical than catering trays, platters, domes, bowls and boxes. Though there are some economical options for a caterer, the cost of packaging is almost always higher than a restaurant’s. The cost of a hot meal portioned into a foam box, put in a bag and brought to you can’t compare to that same hot meal placed in aluminum pans, wrapped for tansport, packed in a food carrier and then, loaded into a van and brought to you. The cost of the two services is vastly different!
Appearance of restaurant food and catered food should look different too. Just by expectation alone, catered food is expected to be a menu showpiece. Not all restaurants prepare their food to go, as the picture perfect, garnished food a caterer would present. Large or small, the restaurant's food wasn’t designed to be the reception, picture perfect party food a caterer’s would be. The cost of creative presentations and garnishes, expected from caterers and not restaurants makes the cost of the two services different.
When using a caterer, you should expect more, and now you know you’ll also get more.