Catering: A Flourishing Industry in Hectic Times

May 20


Sara Allom

Sara Allom

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The catering industry has evolved far beyond simple office sandwiches or occasional director's lunches. Today, it encompasses a wide range of services, from small mobile catering businesses for local events to multi-million-pound companies catering to high-profile parties and occasions. This article delves into the dynamic world of catering, exploring its growth, diversification, and the innovative services it offers.


The catering industry has transformed significantly,Catering: A Flourishing Industry in Hectic Times Articles offering much more than just food. From small mobile catering businesses to multi-million-pound companies, the industry now includes drink, decoration, and entertainment services. Catering consultants are also on the rise, helping businesses perfect their offerings. With the industry's growth, creativity has flourished, offering unique and visually impressive food services. Ultimately, catering aims to make life easier, whether for a small gathering or a large corporate event.

The Expanding World of Catering

The catering industry in the UK is vast, with hundreds of thousands of companies operating across the country. According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK catering industry was valued at £1.4 billion in 2020, and it continues to grow. Some businesses focus on mobile catering solutions for small public events like fetes or open days, while others are large corporations specializing in high-profile events.

Diversification Beyond Food

Modern catering companies offer more than just food. Many now provide drinks, decorations, and even entertainment as part of their services. Companies like Create and "rhubarb" have expanded their offerings to include running restaurants and bars, in addition to event catering.

The Rise of Catering Consultants

Catering consultants, such as Merritt-Harrison and Turpin Smale, are a relatively new phenomenon. These professionals assist other businesses in enhancing their food and beverage offerings. For instance, during the London 2012 Olympics, there was a significant demand for catering consultants to help businesses entertain their corporate clients. These consultants are instrumental in helping hotels and restaurants improve their products, especially during busy event periods.

Innovative Catering Services

As the catering industry has grown, so has the scope of creativity. Event catering now includes a variety of unique and visually impressive food services:

  • Stalls Service: Guests can help themselves to freshly cooked and served food.
  • Wok Stations: A theatrical way to serve hot, fresh food en masse.
  • Sushi and Sashimi Bars: Offering fresh and visually appealing options.
  • Roving Oyster Shuckers: Providing a unique and interactive experience.

Top catering companies employ Creative Managers and Designers to ensure their offerings are always cutting-edge and effective. This innovation is crucial for companies to stay competitive in the market.

Simplicity and Convenience

Not all catering needs to have the 'wow factor.' Some companies specialize in delivering simple, delicious food to your door, reducing the time spent in the kitchen. For example, classic dishes like fish pies, cottage pies, and handmade chicken goujons are popular options. These services are perfect for those looking to make their lives a little easier, whether for a weekend away with friends or a simple dinner party.

The Ultimate Goal: Making Life Easier

At its core, catering is about making life easier. Whether it's one less sandwich to make before work, one less dinner party to cater, or one less corporate event to organize, catering services aim to reduce the workload and stress for their clients.

Interesting Stats

  • The global catering services market is expected to grow from $187.64 billion in 2020 to $328.11 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 11.8% (source: Business Research Company).
  • In the UK, the catering industry employs over 1.7 million people, making it one of the largest employment sectors (source: UKHospitality).


The catering industry has come a long way from its humble beginnings. With its growth and diversification, it now offers a wide range of services that go beyond food. From innovative event catering to simple, convenient meal deliveries, the industry continues to evolve, making life easier for individuals and businesses alike.

By staying ahead of trends and continuously innovating, catering companies can ensure they remain competitive and successful in this flourishing industry.