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A recent report from marketing research firm Technomic projects large gains in the social catering space for limited-service restaurants. Consumers' use of restaurants for catering is expected to grow at annual rates of 5 percent or more.
Broken down by segment, fast casual players are positioned to gain the biggest share, with projected growth at 12 percent, followed by quick-service sandwich concepts, at 8 percent.
As a group, restaurants are now capturing four times the revenue of retailers for catering occasions, at $19.3 billion versus $4.0 billion.
"Improvements in food quality, especially at fast casual and fast-food chains, appear to be a significant factor in restaurants' recent gains with catering consumers," said Melissa Wilson, principal and director of the Parties Off Premise (POP) study. Wilson explains that limited- and full-service restaurants hold the strongest shares of this market (36 and 34 percent, respectively) and appear to be taking share from independent caterers and retail foodservice operators.
Other findings from the study include:
With the holiday season in focus, catering has been promoted heavily by QSR chains such as Subway and Chick-fil-A. Other chains, such as KFC and El Pollo Loco, have also jumped into the catering space, while Cold Stone Creamery announced its new catering program this week.
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