Catering At-Home Parties A Boon For Restaurants

According to a report from Nation’s Restaurant News, “catering to the growing number of consumers choosing to eat and entertain at home is a largely underserved sales opportunity for restaurants, according to a new report from Chicago-based consulting firm Technomic.”

“While the recession has taken a considerable toll on restaurant-based private parties and business catering for corporate lunches or meetings — sandwich chain Così said catering sales plummeted 27.5 percent decline in its last quarter — the restaurant industry has a $33.3 billion opportunity to grow consumer catering sales, Technomic found.Technomic principal Melissa Wilson said the Chicago-based research firm was surprised that the potential for providing catered food to consumers’ homes was this large. As the recession continues to drive people to their homes for entertainment, she said, restaurants need to follow them there.”

“’This is where your customers are,’ Wilson said. ‘They used to use restaurants as social venues, but now they’re entertaining at home. They’ve told us they plan to continue doing so because they’re enjoying socializing with friends at each other’s homes. In fact, 40 percent of consumers say they expect to entertain at home more often over the coming year.’”

“The study, titled ‘POP: Parties Off Premise,’ pointed out other key findings related to consumer catering. For instance, restaurants already lead the way in catering to consumers in their homes, with $23 billion in sales, or 69 percent of the total market. Consumers told Technomic they are just as likely to buy food from restaurants as they are from other food retailers when hosting social gatherings at home.”