The Shift in Catering and Takeout Trends Means Increased Profit for Operators

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Consumers may be dining out less, but that doesn’t mean they’re cooking at home more. In fact, according to Foodable Labs, ordering interest for catering at the top 100 restaurant chains has increased by 32.5 percent in the past year as people look to their favorite places to provide a restaurant dining experience in the comfort of their homes. To answer the increasing demand for flexibility and versatility when it comes to the catering and takeout needs, companies like Rich Products Corporation are intent on offering a wide variety of solutions.

“We have really seen a shift in catering over the last few years,” said Diana Schaefer, Associate Customer Marketing Manager at Rich’s. “Catering is no longer just 200 plated meals at a wedding. We’re seeing more and more national, regional and local restaurants add catering to their offerings.”

This allows operators to use existing menu items, production space and staff to create a brand new revenue stream with very little investment. But how can operators easily add catering and takeout options when the challenges of the traditional dine-in business model persist?

The key lies in easily adaptable and virtually foolproof products. For example, with Rich’s Savory Eggspedites™, an operator can use leftover meat, vegetables, and cheese from dinner to create breakfast quiche the next day. Rich’s flatbreads are shelf stable and can be used as breakfast sandwiches in the morning, chicken caesar wraps at lunch, customizable personal pizzas for dinner or they can even be cut into triangles and served with hummus for an appetizer or as a snack.

Rich’s Culinary Solutions™ line of products are designed to give dishes a made-from-scratch look and taste by allowing the chef to customize ingredients and add finishing touches — saving time and labor. The Eggspedites, Rich’s Flan and Premium Custard Base, for example, offer a huge amount of versatility, making them easily scalable for larger events. The company’s On Top® Whipped Topping has a hold time of three to four hours after application and can even be frozen and pulled out as needed without sacrificing taste or presentation (which can’t be said for dairy-based toppings). The products are impressive enough to serve as specialty items on a menu but can be easily handled by inexperienced kitchen staff. Rich’s also offers a line of plant-based products, including Plant Based Cooking Creme and pizza crusts, which are right in line with one of the food industry’s hottest trends right now: healthier eating.

“With 74 percent of Millennials more likely to dine at a restaurant if it has healthy options and 62 percent of all adults who say they tend to order more healthfully now than they did two years ago, restaurants, food trucks, and campuses are offering more healthful items on menus,” said Schaefer. “There is also the awareness among operators that these types of options will be even more popular in the future.”

Schaefer thinks Rich’s is well positioned to meet the takeout and catering needs of its customers. While the company may be well known for its breads, pastries and cakes, its line of catering products runs the gamut from French toast sticks to barbeque. The products are supported by a full-service sales team that can tap into insights and resources from Rich’s in-house catering company.

“Having a great supply chain partner that understands your business and can bring solutions is a must for a foodservice operator to be successful, whether he or she is first entering the space or looking to expand on an already existing market share,” said Schaefer.  “At Rich’s, we have large variety of products combined with a best in class sales and culinary team who take the time to understand our customers and their unique operation to build customized solutions. Our sales team has even researched the portability of our products, offering recommendations on the right take out packaging for customers.”

Rich’s tested recipes are a valuable resource that take the guesswork out of preparation and serving ideas. They are readily available in a variety of cuisines, including ethnic and regional flavors and are easily scalable, allowing caterers to serve events of all sizes from smaller business lunches to large-scale corporate networking affairs.

The National Restaurant Association estimates that by 2020, 70 percent of customers will be ordering food off a restaurant’s premises. Operators can’t afford to miss this opportunity for growth.

“People want fresh, delicious food where they are and when they want it. They are also willing to pay more for the convenience,” Schaefer said. “The most successful companies are going to be the ones that seamlessly fit into to their customer’s busy lives as they create this brand new revenue stream.”

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post.