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Companies in this industry provide single-event food services at customer-owned and company-owned facilities. Catering companies typically operate as local businesses; major US-based companies include Abigail Kirsch (New York), Behind the Scenes (San Diego), Blue Plate (Chicago), and Legendary Events (Atlanta).
Worldwide, as consumers in emerging markets increasingly enter the middle class, they are more likely to organize catered special events such as wedding receptions, holiday parties, and graduation dinners. The middle class is expected to grow the fastest in the Asia/Pacific region; growth also is forecast in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The US catering industry includes about 10,000 companies with combined annual revenue of about $8 billion. Many food service contractors, hotels, and restaurants cater events, but those businesses are covered in separate industry profiles and are not included in the catering industry. Companies that prepare and serve food for immediate consumption from trucks, carts, or other vehicles also are not included in this industry.
Demand is driven by corporate profits and consumer income. The profitability of individual companies depends on cost controls and effective marketing. Large companies have advantages in offering expanded services such as facilities management, room rental, and entertainment. Small companies can compete effectively by serving small groups and offering personalized service. The industry is highly fragmented: the top 50 US companies account for less than 15% of industry revenue.
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