How Corporate Caterers Made Itself a Catering Destination
- Priya Krishna
- 1 Min Read
All across the country, there’s one name that people rely on for catering that fuses quality ingredients with an elegant presentation: Corporate Caterers. Since 1997, Corporate Caterers’s catering locations have provided high-end breakfast, lunch, and dinner to clients everywhere from Miami to Denver—offering its signature hospitality, reliability, and efficiency. So how does a company go from a small catering outfit to a nationwide brand?
It started with Jim Gass and Dennis McGinley, who were caterers working in the field. “They realized that there was something missing for corporate offices,” says Tracy Gass, the field operations manager of Corporate Caterers. “They knew they had great food, so they coupled that with an appealing presentation and became a reliable service to corporate offices.” Gass and McGinley launched Corporate Caterers and quickly realized that the business model could be applied in many different markets—so they eventually expanded to over 25 locations.
There are two major reasons for Corporate Caterers’s success. First, the company focused on eating as an experience that should “touch all our senses,” as Tracy Gass puts it. “It has to look good. We try to make really beautiful food landscapes, because we eat with our eyes. We also want the food to smell good. And then of course, it has to taste good. It’s food that just begs to be eaten and tasted, and it always tastes as good as it looks.”
Secondly, the business focused exclusively on catering. Corporate Caterers has no restaurant, food truck, or any other side business—it is exclusively concentrates on providing the best catering. And that is very much intentional, according to Tracy Gass. “When you order from us, we are not preoccupied with incoming food traffic or the front of the house,” she says. “We have always been and we will always be 100 percent focused on catering.”
As Corporate Caterers’s catering operation has expanded, the company has had to deal with challenges that come with growth—like having to change up the menus for each of its locations. Tracy Gass says that the team will research local tastes and preferences, and try and incorporate those into their menus. And being tapped into the local scene has other benefits, too. “Being in touch with our local market community creates stronger relationships with our clients,” she adds.
There’s also the need to constantly test menu items. Corporate Caterers will beta test its menus across a broad spectrum of customers before any item becomes a permanent dish. “We want to make sure every item is tested and retested, tasted and re-tasted, and that we all think it would bring something new to the market,” she says. And as an added bonus, customers feel especially loved when Corporate Caterers’s catering seeks their feedback; they get a free lunch out of it, and they become that much more loyal to the brand, she says.
That obsession with quality and service spills over into every area of the business and is ingrained in every employee, “from the dishwasher up to the chefs,” Tracy Gass says. This, she adds, is the reason the company has remained in business for over 20 years. “They know we will bring the best and be there on time.”
Being a decades-old catering spot means that the company has seen the evolution of various food trends. “We continue to be amazed by the quality and sophistication of our clients nowadays,” Tracy Gass says. “It’s a constant learning curve—the need to innovate on our menus and make sure we are addressing our clients’ tastes.” These days the company has seen a big increase in vegan and vegetarian customers, along with the rise in popularity of Mexican and Southwestern flavors. Overall, she says, “we see more and more people spreading their wings, trying new things, and being adventurous in their food choices.”
What’s next for this mighty catering operation? In 2017, the company was acquired by Salt Creek Capital to grow the business even more, according to the PE Hub—so a big expansion is in the works. The company plans to have 100 markets open by 2023, bringing its signature model to a mixture of big and small cities across the country. It’s an ambitious plan, for sure—but Tracy Gass feels confident about what’s to come.
“Our future is so bright, we have to wear shades!” She laughs.
Ready to place your order from Corporate Caterers?