Fast-casual restaurants are elevating their catering programs to increase sales. Catering and delivery services are becoming essential to eateries looking to grow within the fast-casual segment. This year, operators have introduced catering to new markets, tested delivery service, updated menus and launched catering promotions:
- Native Foods Café and Donatos Pizza are growing their catering programs. In Chicago’s Loop area, Native Foods Café offers delivery on catering orders of $100 or more, plus a $15 delivery fee, within a five-mile radius of the store. The chain is launching the program systemwide. Donatos Pizza also expanded its catering footprint this year with the opening of a unit at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH. The restaurant serves as a Donatos catering and delivery hub for the downtown Columbus area.
- Panera Bread is testing delivery service, which is expected to be primarily used for catering and large orders. The chain currently offers delivery to customers within a 10-minute drive of downtown Lexington, KY. Small-scale delivery is also available in Louisville, KY, and Charlotte, NC.
- Zoës Kitchen rolled out new catering party themes. The chain created the following Party Packs: A Modern Mediterranean Shower, Vintage Circus Kid’s Birthday Party, A Home Team Celebration and Girls’ Night In. Each Party Pack features an assortment of food for 10 people or more along with free printables like invitations, thank you tags, name cards, flags and pennants.
- To promote its catering program, McAlister’s Deli launched a Tailgate Playbook sweepstakes. Fans can enter the contest on the chain’s Facebook page or company website through September 30 by voting for their favorite McAlister’s catering menu item. The grand prize winner will receive two tickets to the 2015 SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on December 5, a one-night hotel accommodation and a $500 Visa gift card.
For further insight on catering opportunities, check out Technomic’s Off-Premise Catering Study Quantitative Report 2015.