Back to School and Back to Sports

Greetings! It’s been a little while in the Catersource Carvings universe, which can only mean that we’ve been working hard on another issue. I disappear into a print media hole while we’re putting the finishing touches on the magazine, only to emerge refreshed and ready to blog again. I’ve made a Pinterest board inspired by the September/October issue, in case you want to get a head start before it lands in your mailbox in a couple of weeks.

From the Wall Street Journal

From the Wall Street Journal

This year the summer was so strange and hot that it transitioned into end-of-summer and back-to-school season before I could blink. School cuisine has been a part of the U.S. national conversation for a few years now, and we’re starting to see major changes in how school lunches are produced in all levels of education– from kindergarten to college.

One of the biggest trends on college and university campuses is the rise of on-campus food trucks. Although many campuses prohibit outside vendors from parking on campus, university dining services have been launching their own trucks to top the trend– and any nearby competition just outside the hallowed grounds of education. This article from the Wall Street Journal also notes that these food trucks are “a way to offer late-night dining options and serve remote areas of campus.” Aramark and Bon Appétit Management are launching a number of mobile on-campus operations.

Also quoted in the article is someone who says that graduate students will wait up to an hour for a food truck lunch. Now, that’s devotion! Or… procrastination.

Beyond food trucks, Sodexo is looking to include more young adult-friendly fare on campus by adding a fast casual eatery with Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Guy Fieri On Campus (GFOC) will open up to fifteen locations in the next five years, with the first at Montclair State University. The fare sounds totally appropriate for college students with the munchies, and Fieri says that it’s “what I wish I could have had when I was in college.”

So what does this mean for the future, and for your catering business? According to this report, college students’ diets are including more healthful items like chickpeas, fruits, vegetables, and vegetarian and vegan options than ever before. Trends in collegiate dining shape how adults eat for the rest of their lives, says the report, and as young people expand their palates, national taste preferences will continue to widen… although we’ve still got the Guy Fieri style of comfort food right alongside these new trends.

A Return to the Field for Caterers

Back to school also means we’re gearing up for high sports season, with baseball launching into the home stretch and football beginning in the near future. These jambalaya and lasagna recipes from the Classic Catering People in Baltimore are served to the Baltimore Ravens. The article encourages parents to serve the recipes to their kids as “what the Ravens” eat– but I think it’s an awesome example of how a caterer can market themselves to a local audience.

And speaking of what the athletes eat, this report from Catering by Carbone’s at the New Haven Open, a professional women’s tennis event, gives some of the particulars of what the players eat and when they’re being served– about 40 pounts of pasta and two cases of bananas daily. All those vitamins and carbs make up a good preview for my favorite sporting event of the year, the U.S. Open (tennis, not golf).

Has your company ever catered a major professional sports team or sporting event? What are some of the challenges that you face besides mass consumption of food? Let us know in the comments!

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