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Catering Service

Catering Service

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Executive summary

The Caterers industry contended with challenges stemming from plummeting corporate profit and consumer spending at the end of the five-year period to 2022 as unemployment soared. However, early in the period, higher downstream consumer spending translated to greater demand for business-to-consumer events. This increased demand was not intense enough to temper the negative effects of declining marriage rates and decreases in per capita expenditure on alcohol, which hindered the industry. In response to these adversities, industry operators have introduced new menu items and provided a wider range of services to satisfy a broader range of client interests.
Amid health and safety restrictions such as lockdowns and social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in 2020, industry revenue cratered, falling 42.8% that year alone. As consumer spending and corporate profit have declined after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, demand for catering has fallen accordingly. Nevertheless, industry demand rebounded in 2021 as restrictions on large gatherings have been eased. Ultimately, industry revenue has declined an annualized 4.9% to $10.6 billion over the five years to 2022, including an 11.4% growth in 2022 alone.
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industry revenue;

industry profit;

industry margin;

industry employment;

industry major players;

industry key external drivers;

industry product & structure segmentation;

industry key trends;

industry Life Cycle;

industry Geographic Breakdown;

industry Key Success Factors;

industry Key statistics for previous years;

forecast of industry Key statistics for the next 5 years;

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Reference Wordlist

High barriers to entry mean that new companies struggle to enter an industry, while low barriers mean it is easy for new companies to enter an industry.

Compares the amount of money spent on capital (plant, machinery and equipment) with that spent on labor.
IBISWorld uses the ratio of depreciation to wages as a proxy for capital intensity. High capital intensity is more than $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; medium is $0.125 to $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; low is less than $0.125 of capital for every $1 of labor.

The dollar figures in the Key Statistics table, including forecasts, are adjusted for inflation using the current year (i.e. year published) as the base year. This removes the impact of changes in the purchasing power of the dollar, leaving only the "real" growth or decline in industry metrics. The inflation adjustments in IBISWorld’s reports are made using the US Bureau of Economic Analysis’ implicit GDP price deflator.

Spending on industry goods and services within the United States, regardless of their country of origin. It is derived by adding imports to industry revenue, and then subtracting exports.

Colloquial Terminology

Ensuring that health and food standards are maintained at a high level during each stage of the process, from purchasing to serving.

Provision of catered meals, which usually includes alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

Food, drinks or other items that must be discarded due to fluctuations in demand, oversupply of meals or excess ingredients that cannot be used and are subsequently spoiled.


The Caterers industry is highly fragmented, dominated by a significant number of nonemployers. With relatively low barriers to entry, this industry experiences high competition based on both price and product offerings. Due to dwindling demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, industry profit margins were recessed in 2020. Nonetheless, industry profit is anticipated to recover in 2022 as industry demand rebounds, although it is not forecast to reach pre-pandemic levels.

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