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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 9, September 2011, Posted On: 9/18/2011

Technomic: Office Breakfast, Dinner Catering On The Rise

Emily Jed
food service, vending business, office refreshment services, onsite food service, corporate food service, industrial foodservice, lunch trends, Technomic, off premise eating, office catering, work catering, breakfast catering, lunch catering

CHICAGO -- Offices have been catering in more breakfast and dinner meals despite a decline in lunch orders, according to a recent Technomic study.

The Chicago-based research firm reported in its updated "Large Orders Off-Premise" study that one in five (19%) of surveyed business and medical office managers ordered breakfast catering at least once a week, up from 13% in 2007. Dinner usage also increased, with 26% of those surveyed saying they order catered-in dinners at work at least monthly, up from 18% four years ago.

"We learned that breakfast occasions are growing due to meeting time-shifting and lower costs," said Technomic'S Melissa Wilson. "Dinner occasions, on the other hand, are growing because employees are being asked to work late, and some employers provide dinner to help ease the pain of longer days."

Wilson said that while current orders of catered lunches are lower than 2007 levels, that daypart has improved over the past two years, based on anecdotal information. The 2011 study found that 39% of respondents reported spending more on catering during the past one to two years, and only 18% of those surveyed said their catering spending decreased in that time.

The study found that the average group size for catering orders has remained steady at 19 to 20 people. However, cutbacks have occurred in average per-person expenditures since 2007.

Technomic noted that restaurants and caterers are facing more competition from other retailers, including warehouse clubs. One in five survey respondents reported using a warehouse club in the past 60 days to cater a business function.

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