What is Contract Catering and Who Uses Contract Catering?

What is Contract Catering and Who Uses Contract Catering?

A contract caterer is a company that provides catering services to a business or organisation. Contract caterers might work in schools, colleges, university canteens or snack bars, hospitals, workplace canteens, event venues, sports grounds, railway stations, and airports. 

Contract catering firms are popular choices with many companies and educational establishments, for the benefit of their employees or students. These companies might hire a caterer to permanently provide food. 

In some cases, the caterer may be hired to provide catering services to the public at a business, such as being brought in to run the cafe and restaurant at a museum or the snack kiosk at a sports ground. 

The advantage of using a contract caterer is that the client is able to hand this area over to a specialist and focus on their own area of expertise. For caterers who sign contracts, the big advantage is that they have guaranteed business. When contracts have been properly negotiated, contract catering works well for both the caterers and their clients. 

Who Uses a Contract Caterer?

The range of people and businesses who choose to use contract caterers is huge. A lot of large businesses will use a contract caterer to provide food to their staff, whether to run staff canteens or on an occasional basis for events, training days, or meetings. Schools and universities use caterers for their students. Attractions like museums, galleries, and sports venues might use a contract caterer to run their cafe or restaurant. These caterer-run food options are often called concessions. 

What are the Benefits of Using a Contract Caterer?

Deciding to outsource something as important as food is a big decision, which should be made carefully. Bringing in a caterer can have wide-ranging consequences for the organisation, the employees, and the catering team. There are lots of benefits and advantages to deciding to use a contract caterer. 


A contract caterer will hold all the risk and responsibility for running concessions successfully so the business doesn’t have to. Inspiration and ideas for the food that the business has to offer will be led entirely by the caterer and tailored to the individual needs of the client, whether there is a need to cater to dietary requirements, to impress clients, or to keep people focused during meetings. The caterer is responsible for all the costs of catering too, so the client doesn’t have to manage this. 


A contract caterer is hired to focus on the catering so that the client can focus on their business instead. The caterer will employ their own team, saving the business from having to hire chefs, servers, and other positions. This team will be a part of the catering team and can be used as a resource whenever the client needs it. 

A specialist caterer will be better able to spot trends and react to them much faster than another kind of business can. Caterers have all the resources in place to handle food offers, including invoicing and payment for supplies, so the client only has one invoice to pay for the service. The client won’t have to spend time setting up and managing a food supply chain as the catering company will do all this.  

Team Management By Experts

By being employed by a catering company, the in-house catering team will have a lot more opportunities for personal development. Catering companies usually have comprehensive and robust people development processes in place to develop staff and help them in their careers. 

Professional catering organisations also have the ability to recruit skilled people from an existing pool of talent and a wide, specialised network. Caterers have the systems and processes already in place to manage the performance of each of their team members, so the client doesn’t need to worry about it. It’s part of the contract to get the team right. Caterers have the advantage of being able to call on the support of a dedicated catering trainer, who will understand the kind of training that is needed, from food preparation to food safety. 

Legislative Compliance

Catering companies must work with independent and fully-certified Health and Safety officers who are responsible for carrying out full risk assessments to ensure that all relevant food and health and safety rules are being followed correctly. A catering service should always be able to supply comprehensive Health and Safety and Food Safety training programs for every team member who works on the catering within the client’s organisation. This provides a lot of peace of mind, and reassurance that any food will be prepared safely and professionally. 

You could also ask for independent quality audits on an annual basis, to ensure the highest standards are being met. Your catering company can supply you with completely separate, auditable financial controls to keep your catering costs under control. 

Enhanced Reputation for CSER (Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility)

If the right contract caterer is chosen for their achievements in sustainability, this can enhance your business and reputation. Ideas that your contract caterer could help you with could include how your food waste is managed, supplying sustainable bottled water, and serving Fairtrade coffee. 

Country City Catering is a first-class, versatile event and drop-off catering company based in London. If you need event catering or drop-off catering with a focus on sustainability, we'd like to hear from you so please get in touch. To get in touch, you can fill in our contact form here, call us on 0208 6484 549 or email us at info@countrycitycatering.com. We have a wealth of seasonal daily changing menus for regular catering contracts. We provide a 'drop off catering' service available either as a buffet or individually packaged or as a fully managed in-house catering service. Our menus change seasonally and are always on-trend.