How The Catering Industry is Evolving


Change is inevitable everywhere, including the catering industry! We recently spoke with Tony Rea, Owner & Culinary Director of Creations in Cuisine Catering, to learn about his experience with change within the catering industry.

I have continued to watch the catering industry change over my 20+ years in the business. Right now, I currently see a major shift in the evolution of the catering industry happening before our eyes.


Fresh, organic, locally sourced food is in high demand. Gluten free is not just a buzz word anymore. Gluten free is a dietary necessity for some and a preference for many clients.

We are fortunate that Phoenix has an abundance of local offerings such as locally milled flour, beautiful fresh produce, local honey, and more. In creating my menu for the 2018 season, I am conscious of simple yet elegant presentations, always with a focus on freshness.

Clients are knowledgeable; many of them are excellent cooks so the bar is high for professionals, both in preparation of the food and presentation.

Cooking is a passionate hobby for many people. For this reason, interactive food stations, live cooking stations, and cooking demos will continue to be popular. Many catering companies look for ways to differentiate themselves by offering something unique.

In our case, we are producing fresh, hand-crafted pasta in our kitchen for our Italian menus.

how catering industry changing


Many wedding couples wish to offer cuisine representing their heritage. If they are from two different ethnicities, the cuisine request will often represent both cultures.

We currently have a warehouse filled with beautiful chafing dishes. I realize that chafing dishes may be utilized less as the trend shifts more towards creative food stations rather than buffet set-ups. If buffet set-ups do remain in demand, they will appear differently than in the past. The modern, minimalistic approach will reign for some time, as will retro trends.

Color schemes tend to change with yearly color trends. However, I do feel the greys, coppers, and organic textured linens are here to stay for a reasonable period of time.

We are currently seeing a change in seating styles. Many clients are opting for long, farmhouse style seating which often sets the scene for family style dining. Clients who choose food stations often decide to have guests mingle at cocktail tables with no formal seating.

how catering industry changing

In speaking with a colleague last week, we both agreed that caterers will continue to play a key role in events. We caterers need to remain ahead of the game as our clients have endless access to television cooking shows, YouTube cooking videos, social media and and advice from others.

The catering industry must embrace change with enthusiasm as those who do not stay on top of trends or refuse to adapt risk being left in the dust.

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