What is contract catering?
A contract caterer is a catering company that is hired by a company or organisation to provide catering services every day or on a very regular basis. And surprise surprise, they usually (but not always) sign a contract to provide these services for a set period of time.
Who uses a contract caterer?
The range is huge. A lot of large businesses will use a contract caterer to provide food to their staff. Schools and universities use them for their students. Attractions like museums, galleries and sports venues might have a contract caterer in to run their restaurant or café – in business terms these last ones are often called concessions.
Right now, we work exclusively in workplaces. That’s the arena we find most exciting, because it’s about fitting food into the rhythm of people’s everyday lives and understanding what really gets them going and inspired.
Who pays for a contract caterer?
Again, this varies. Concessions are similar to a shop or café, so the person eating the food or drink is usually the one who pays for it. In a lot of workplaces or in education, the catering is subsidised – the cost is split between the organisation and the diner.
More recently a lot of workplaces have started to cover all of the costs of food themselves – so their staff eat for free. In fact, plenty of our own clients do just that.
Don't you guys all just heat up frozen pizza and sell packaged yoghurts?
Nuh uh. The type of food a contract caterer makes really depends on the specific caterer and also what the client needs. We cook all our food from scratch every day and design healthy menus that reflect what Londoners enjoy when they eat out. Beyond that we adapt our services to what’s right for each client.
Other contract caterers might focus more on offering very simple food to keep costs low, or making food that is easy to store for a long time. Which, yes, can sometimes mean frozen pizzas. But that's not us!
How do businesses and organisations choose a contract caterer?
The selection of a contract caterer is usually done through a tender process. The organisation will either advertise that they’re looking for a caterer or contact a load of catering companies and ask them to enter the process, which can go through several stages.
At the very least this process will include the caterer submitting a proposal. The proposal explains what food and services they will offer based on what the organisation says they want. The best proposal wins!
Are all contract caterers large businesses?
Nope. Some employ thousands of people, but we’re proud to be a medium, family-run company of just over 90 staff. That's an advantage to you because it means we can provide a dedicated and fast service without long lines of management to slow things down.
Does hiring a contract caterer mean we need to spend money on an expensive kitchen?
Absolutely not! The beauty of our service is that we have central production kitchens and can provide hot and cold food to your office every day.
How much does your service cost?
It really depends on the service your require and the number of people in your office. For meals the range could be from £9-25/head/day. For coffee bars and fridge/snack stocking we bill inventory at cost but add a management fee.
How long are your contracts?
Generally our contracts are 1-5 years. However, for offices in transition we can provide a month-to-month service.
Can you stock fridges, snacks and coffee bars too?
Yes! Although our core business is to provide workplace food we can also do your stocking depending on the size of your office and the frequency you require.
What are your minimum head counts?
In order to be cost effective for both us and the client we usually say the office needs to have 50+ staff.