A General Look At The Catering Boston Industry


by Rebekah Alford


When it comes to catering Boston will not disappoint. The city is renowned for its excellent service providers, who range from mobile vendors to those contracted by large multinationals. The business is not just about food, however; its about creating a total experience encompassing all elements of an event. For this reason, many food only vendors have gradually expanded their portfolios to include event planning and management.

Organizing events is a complex activity that requires planning, flawless execution and perhaps a bit of luck. This field is not homogeneous, but can be classified into four categories. The first one is providing services for special events. These include weddings, anniversaries, receptions and large scale parties. The provider will bring food and service, as well as plan other aspects of the event, such as decorations, seating and so on.

This is characterized by one planner providing the food, decorating the venue, providing the music, cleaning up after the event and so on. The advantage of this method to a client is that they do not have to deal with myriads of suppliers. To the provider, there is the opportunity to utilize and test all the capabilities that they may have.

There are those providers who focus on servicing businesses. They organize lunches, conferences, corporate parties and training sessions. This area is growing rapidly, and has a lot of competition. Servicing businesses has the advantage of providing consistent revenue throughout the year. Success in one event will normally lead to an invite to organize another one.

In this niche, the provider organizes the entire event, from the food, decorations, music, lighting and so on. Depending on their capabilities, they can do everything, or sub contract aspects of it. Either way, they stand to make a profit. Another niche that is becoming highly popular is serving businesses. This includes organizing corporate meetings, parties, and training sessions.

Unlike private events, however, corporate ones generally limit what goes into a menu or decor; it has to fit a certain image. There is less room for experimentation. Another field that providers focus on is the industrial and institutional market. This involves servicing prisons, schools, hospitals and so on. This is primarily a no frills market; the focus is on the food and very limited service.

The other is that institutions prefer those who already have experience serving clients with a similar profile. Since the number of meals to be served is very large, a lot of capital is needed. This is not the field for those who love beauty; focus is generally on function, not looks. For instance, service is by the cafeteria style system.

Some providers eschew the more traditional markets and focus on being mobile. An example is the providers seen in many outdoor public events and parking lot sellers. One reason many choose to go into this field is because of its low capital requirements, and the fact that one goes to where the customers are rather than wait for them. For anyone who needs catering Boston providers will not disappoint.




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