Get ready for the return of catering. It may not be the golden age but 2010 experienced a 9% growth over the previous year, and 2011 and 2012 are expected to produce similar increases.

Based on information provided by Market Research Publisher, it is time for full-service restaurants that in the past catering was a good source of income, to ratchet up their operations with more aggressive marketing and increased investment in catering. Other restaurants in which catering hasn’t played a significant role previously should investigate if there are additional opportunities to expand into catering without undercutting their core business.

A partial economic recovery has lead to a return to business-event driven spending and  lavish personal events. In particular, on the business side, companies have resumed sending employees to conventions that bring a wealth of catering to the cities who host conventions. Indeed most businesses realize, as have many individuals, that the US has not had a full recovery so limited-service restaurants have definitely benefited more from the somewhat cautious spending than before the economic collapse several years ago. Their advantage lies with moderate menu pricing structure and portable fare, factors that full-service restaurants can somewhat mitigate. This may be necessary for full-service restaurants especially in the area of more casual business events as limited-service restaurants have launched aggressive marketing strategies, and seem poised to invade the traditional turf of full-service restaurants.

Nonetheless, growth is expected in every sector of catering, and for the foreseeable future, catering at foodservice and drink places will take the lion’s share of catering business. Another thing to consider is that customers expect healthier food choices. This probably will be exaggerated in catering over dining because throwing events that force attendees to eat unhealthy food is not a comfortable proposition. More and more, caterers need to take this into consideration and offer healthy options.

Overall, the future for catering looks brighter as customers warm up to more, bigger and fancier events.