Until the pandemic, catering was a EUR 230 billion industry dominated by four traditional players. It was already facing multiple headwinds such as tougher regulations, quality and health requirements and most notably financial dynamics that mar their margins.

The main business driver of catering is the ever growing expectations of consumers. In the last decade, incumbent companies initiated diverse operations mainly drove by digitalization to boost their performance and address consumers’ needs. Despite their efforts, their transformation is still slowed down by their substantial size and what we call “the burden of tradition”.

Then along came Covid-19, bringing the industry to a near standstill. It has slashed demand and hammered caterers’ revenues. The shift to home working, one main feature of the pandemic, has handed an advantage to other food services actors, such as food retailers and delivery companies, who are now challenging traditional caterers. The fact that this shift may become mainstream in a post Covid-19 world could destroy 20% of the traditional catering business. It is to say the pandemic has bolstered the need for incumbent companies to rewrite their business model in order to keep up faster with consumers desire of increased convenience and healthiness.

In a more competitive environment, adapting to the “new normal” will involve an intensified focus on employee dining experience. We see multi-channel offers, with an intensified focus on delivery and digital solutions, as a model proving successful. The opportunity is for catering companies to progress internally and more efficiently through partnerships, acquisitions, working with small agile FoodTech start-ups and devising more flexible business models. There’s huge untapped potential for all food actors to reach new markets.

Can the catering industry adapt to the post-covid world?

To find out more, watch the teaser video about our new white paper “Serving the future”.


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