To get the best value from contract caterers, the organisation’s facilities manager must be clear why they provide catering to their staff. A contract catering strategy laying out clear objectives leads on to smooth decision making, effective processes and a successful catering service.

Contract catering strategy objectives

Some organisations provide meals at no cost or subsidised for their employees. This can be a valuable part of their employment package and a key element of an organisation’s attraction and retention strategy.

Other organisations may need a catering service because their building is located in a remote area or where there is very little choice for staff to buy their own lunch. In-house catering can aid productivity as it encourages staff to stay on site.

With the increased importance of wellbeing on the corporate agenda, some organisations choose to provide a contract catering service that supports the wellbeing of their staff.

A well designed restaurant and café can act as a hub for connectivity and sharing ideas. There are plenty of examples showing the value created when the walls in corporate silos are removed.
Some organisations require hospitality and fine dining as a client relationship and business development tool for entertaining guests.

Clients and caterer must understand their objectives before they start to build a picture of how they want their catering to be operated. To complete a catering strategy these additional questions need to be answered:

Scope of services

  • Do you want a full service restaurant or a pre-prepared or made-to-order ‘grab and go’ service?
  • What opening hours are required?
  • How much emphasis should there be food that is healthy?
  • Where does the catering offer fit into the company’s wellness strategy?
  • What is the range of food to be provided?
  • Do you want a separate coffee bar?
  • What is the competition?
  • Is a comprehensive range of hospitality services required including fine dining?
  • How should beverages to be supplied – over the counter or vended?
  • What payment solutions should be provided?


  • Who are the customers?
  • What is the staff’s demographic and where do they eat when they are not at work?
  • What type of guests will be visiting and what are their expectations? How important is hospitality to the contact’s success?
  • How technology savvy will customers be?


  • Give indications of quality
  • Outline the sustainability aspirations


  • Is the tariff designed to return a gross profit, or to recover just the cost of food and VAT or free issue?
  • If a gross profit is to be generated, what level is appropriate or achievable?
  • If the service is free issue, what is the daily allowance?
  • Are the hospitality service costs absorbed centrally or recharged?

Financial objectives

The financial outcome of the catering service will be driven by the range of services, number of staff on site, the tariff and contract style.
For example, if a policy of free issue meals is adopted, the cost to the organisation will be considerably higher. Conversely, a gross profit will reduce the subsidy.

Download our guide to how to develop a contract catering strategy here

Expert advice

To share best practice, we have developed bartlett mitchell’s expert guides for workplace and contract catering. Download the pdf guide to  How to develop a contract catering strategy or read our expert guide on Understanding the different types of catering contracts

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