What Is a Food Catering Business?

Any event is incomplete without food. After all, food is not a formality but a complete emotion to make the event more memorable and fun. So, catering is the industry that provides food services to small and big events, which might be private as well as the public. Catering services include providing all the arrangements for food on any occasion. Some caterers only provide the food, while others offer complete arrangements such as stalls, table sets, crockeries, tableware, linens, etc. 

Catering services are provided by different kinds of entities. Restaurants and hotels come foremost when talking about catering. Most restaurants and hotels offer catering services for big events. In this catering service, most of the arrangements are ensured by a single entity. The arrangement includes food, beverages, food stalls, tables, chairs, utensils, crockeries, cooks, waiters, etc. 

Other than restaurants and hotels, some businesses are famous specifically for their catering services. These businesses don’t own any hotels or restaurants. Rather they make complete food arrangements for any event. They provide their services in multiple market locations and mostly have chain businesses. 

There are some local and individual catering service providers as well. The catering providers like these have their own contacts in the locality and provide food services on demand. These are mostly family businesses run by a single person with the help of their family members.

Market Stats Of The Food Catering Industry

  • The valuation of the global catering service market was $516.8 billion in 2020. 
  • The industry is expected to achieve a valuation of $672.9 billion by 2026. 
  • The industry will be maintaining a CAGR of 4.5% between 2021-2026. 
  • Restaurants and food services around the world are providing employment to around 12.1 million people. 
  • The estimated job growth in the same industry has been recorded to be 7.27% in a projection of 10 years

Smartphone Apps Transfiguring the Catering Industry

Food Catering App

The focus point of mobile applications has always been on solving the problems with technology. It was a headache to search for a taxi on the road, so the Ola app appeared. There was not enough time to visit a restaurant for lunch or dinner, so Swiggy and Zomato were introduced. We didn’t have access to jober, electrician, carpenter, painters, cleaner, hairdressers, so a lot of handyman apps are there on the smartphone. 

Similarly, catering has become a basic need in everyone’s lives as the occasion for celebration is also increasing. Let it be the birthday or marriage, Christmas or new year, welcome or farewell, Good Friday or thanksgiving, every event must have a food program. As the service is in demand, a number of entities are providing the service in the market. In this scenario, it becomes crucial to select the best one that is worth the money and guests enjoy their meal. Catering mobile apps makes it very easy to compare a range of catering services provided along with their costs, menus, offerings, and ratings from their previous customers. The catering mobile apps allow the users to compare the services and select the best one. Online booking and contact are also provided to the users via the app. 

Most Popular Food-Catering Apps

Food Catering

Food catering is a very wide industry. There are a number of apps that help both the users and the businesses to ease their respective tasks. For example, there are specific apps that assist restaurants and service providers to explore the wider consumer base. While there are other apps that help one to select the best caterers for their party. Some apps help catering businesses manage their teams more efficiently while others help organize the event more effectively. 

We are enlisting the most popular apps of the catering industry being used by businesses. 

1. Online Catering Platforms 

Everyone needs catering services for different events. At the same time, everyone wants to hire the best caterers to ensure the best food quality and the best price. However, it is neither easy nor possible to compare the hundreds of caterers one by one and select the one. It would definitely take an eternity. So, an online catering platform is an excellent option for the catering businesses as well as the customers. The restaurants, hotels, and catering services providers can register on these platforms for free or against a charge. It will allow them to get the orders for catering from a broad consumer base. On the other hand, it provides the customers with a platform to compare the hundreds of the caterers in one place and select the best one. 

Some of the best online catering platforms

2. Catering CRM Apps 

Gone are the days when the whole restaurant or business used to be handled by a team of ten people sitting at the same desk. 100s of people work in a single workplace, and an efficient flow of communication is vital for business performance. So there is a range of Customer Relationship Management apps that help the catering businesses to manage their internal communication and processes more smoothly. The CRM apps help in standard data entry, taking the orders, recording the requirements, setting the tasks, communicating about the status of processes and tasks, keeping the record, connecting to the customers, answering FAQs, expanding the network, enhancing internal communication, expanding the network, and many more. 

Leading catering CRM apps

3. Catering Job Search Platform

The food catering industry has been one of the biggest employers in the world. So the applications make it easy for the applicants to explore the wide range of catering businesses and companies to work with and make a career. A number of apps are there specially designed to offer jobs in the catering industry, unlike the regular apps like LinkedIn or Monster. Moreover, these platforms also allow you to search for a job based on location, job profile, salary, or experience required. 

One of the best catering job search platform

4. Business Dedicated Apps 

There is a wide range of business dedicated apps as well, which are owned and run by a single business entity. In the age of technology, businesses are using online platforms to connect the consumer base. So, big hotels, restaurants, and caterers develop their own mobile application that helps customers get insight into services, cost, menu, facilities, etc. It is a good platform for the one already engaged in the business of catering to connect to a broad client base. 

5. Event Management Apps 

Event management is never an easy task. But when smartphone apps for managing the event are there, it is not difficult either. Numerous event management apps help manage the event’s different aspects, tasks, and processes. Things like listing the tasks, communicating with respective team members and stakeholders, ensuring the completion of tasks, recording the time and expenses of each task, maintaining the records, etc. become very easy with smartphone apps. 

Some of the best event management apps

How Does A Catering App Work? 

Doesn’t matter what kind of app it is; the working principle of catering mobile apps is mainly focused on smoothening and automatizing the business processes. Let it be the CRM, online catering platforms, or job search applications; they all focus on making the respective tasks easy and automatic. Online catering platform apps provide the big stage for the catering business to connect to a broad consumer base by registering themselves on the platform. Similarly, it helps users compare hundreds of catering service providers on a mutual platform. CRM app assists businesses in managing overall tasks and communication with the help of technology, thus streamlining the process. The event management app helps list all the tasks to be performed and enables you to check if the work is being done as planned or not. 

A service procedure of mobile catering.
A Service Procedure of Mobile Catering
Data Flow Diagram of Mobile Apps

A Complete Comparison of Studies on Catering Apps.

Mobile ApplicationsMain Characteristics
Grocery deliveryData mining; Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP)
Food deliverySmart Partial Least Squares (PLS); Expectancy
Confirmation Model (ECM); Unified Theory of
Use and Acceptance of Technology model
(UTAUT); Pleasure Arousal Dominance (PAD)
Food couponsRFID; price discrimination
RecipesCOOKIT; Android smartphone; robustly
processes speech I/O
Food and nutrition for gym
AHP; self-tracking
Restaurant table reservationseCRM; RevPASH (Revenue Per Available Seat
Food waste reductionInternet of Things
Calorie trackersEating disorder pathology; iOS, RFID
Reviews and ratingCoding scheme (TBP and ACO); iOS; Android
AR-based apps for exploring
Immersive technology; (A)Symmetric
Approach; AppSheet; Google Apps Script

Also read: How to build a food delivery app?

Source of Revenue for Catering Mobile Apps

business model of Catering Apps
Business & Revenue Model of Catering Apps

There is a range of revenue sources for the catering mobile apps. After all, it’s all about making money. The owner of the catering app receives numerous payments. Most of the revenue is sleeping income for the app owners as they don’t need to put continuous efforts into running the app. Below are some of the primary revenue sources for catering mobile apps: 

1. Registration Fee

A number of catering mobile apps charge a registration fee from their users. Mostly the online catering platform apps charge the fee from catering companies and restaurants to register their name on the platform. 

2. Subscription Fee

The subscription fee is also one of the primary sources of revenue. It is used mainly by CRM software providers and catering job search platforms. They charge their client a monthly or yearly subscription fee to keep using the services. 

3. In-App Purchases

Some apps provide free access to limited content in their app. However, some premium features are unlocked with the help of In-App purchases. This kind of revenue model is used by CRM apps, event management apps, etc. Basic features are provided free of cost, while some premium features are purchased by the users. 

4. Advertising 

No matter what kind of application it is, if it carries a broad consumer base, advertising can substitute all other revenue sources for the app. Giving space to advertising generates an attractive income. At the same time, owners of apps have to do nothing for advertising.

Essential Features in Catering Mobile Apps 

  • Compare different service providers 
  • Browsing the services
  • Scheduling and rescheduling 
  • Messaging tool to communicate with a service provider or service seeker 
  • Real-time tracking
  • Information about delivery
  • Push notification 
  • Chatbot 
  • Multiple payment options 

Pros and Cons of Building a Catering App for Relevant Businesses

1. Pros of Catering App

  • Convenience: the foremost benefit and focus of these apps is convenience. Every app provides convenience to its users in respective ways. Online catering platform helps users analyze and select the best caterer from the comfort of their homes. Similarly, anyone can search for a job in the catering industry without visiting locations.
  • Discover New Contacts: businesses and clients get to explore the new connections. Users get to know about caterers that provide services in their area but don’t have an office there. Similarly, the catering service providers serve a completely new consumer base. 
  • Rating and Reviews: the rating and review system plays a significant role in efficient decision-making. It helps to get an idea about the service quality that a caterer provides. So, the best one can be selected.

2. Cons of Catering App

  • Increased Competition: everyone is looking for something best, increasing the waiting time. Sometimes, one caterer has the booking for the next several weeks while other caterers might be struggling to get one order.  
  • Charges: it is free to visit the service provider offline and hire them for the event. However, many apps charge a fee from their users for hiring a particular service provider.
  • Limited Access: there is a range of restaurants and caterers who provide quality service. However, they might not have sufficient resources and knowledge about the digital world. So, platforms like these cause negative impacts on such businesses.

How Can A Catering Mobile App Propel Business Growth?

After the physical world, it is time for businesses to mark their presence in the digital world. The digital world is much larger and broader than the physical world in terms of the market. Without instilling the use of technology, a business will never be able to expand the services out from a locality. Mobile apps have played an observable role in propelling business growth in recent years. The food delivery apps have significantly helped restaurant businesses multiply their consumer base.  

The catering industry is not very different from others as it also fulfills the basic need of its customers. Below are some of the ways that help the mobile apps to propel the business growth:  

1. Explore the Broad Client Base

A catering business can only serve the local residents without an online network. So, the mobile application helps them explore the broad consumer base in the surrounding markets as well. It helps to achieve competitive advantages by connecting with a broad consumer base and providing services in different locations. 

2. Streamline Internal Business Process 

Catering CRM apps streamline the internal business process. When a business operates on a high level, it consists of a lot of teams, departments, stakeholders, and offices to manage. At the same time, it also becomes necessary for them to meet the expectations of their customers. CRM software helps the firm to establish smooth communication. Moreover, it helps keep a record of customer preferences and needs, making it easier to fulfill the exact needs in the future. 

3. Getting the Talented Employees 

Human resources are the fundamentals of any business or industry. So a catering job search platform helps businesses to get skilled and knowledgeable employees. The engagement of skilled and efficient employees helps businesses reach greater heights by enhancing the quality of service. 

4. Enhance Customer Experience 

The dedicated app of a restaurant or caterer is a great way to enhance their customers’ experience. The customers can go through the mobile app of the restaurant or caterer to get important insight into services, costs, delivery, menu, and other things. It enhances the customer experience and chances of getting the deal. 

How to Develop a Food Catering Application?

Catering App development

Developing an app requires complete planning as it is a time and money-making process. The changes in the later stage might cause a long delay as well as wastage of a tremendous amount of money. Thus, it becomes crucially important to prepare the whole plan and then only develop the app according to the same. The following steps can be an efficient blueprint for developing a catering app:

1. Developing a Vision 

Every plan and process begins with a vision we wish to convert into reality through our planning. So, before developing the app, first, develop a vision. You should know what app you want to develop and why you want to develop it. Why not the other app? Once you have answered these questions, it will be easier for you to make the decision in later stages. 

2. Perform In-Depth Market Research

Even while writing this blog, we have conducted in-depth research. So, how can it be a good idea to develop a complete app without the proper research? In-depth market research is one of the most essential factors for your app development process. You should know who your competitors are, what audience they are targeting, what is their business model, what is their revenue, what features are they providing, and many more. It will help you know better about your own decision. 

3. Connecting to A Team 

Nothing can be better than doing your own thing. So, if you carry all the knowledge about the app development, front end, back end, UI development, coding, testing, etc., you really don’t need a team. But, if you are in another profession unfamiliar with app development, you will have to contact a team that can handle your work as their own. Emizentech can be your best choice as it has maintained a strong family of clients for a long time. 

4. Review the Prototype 

The app development team you select will provide you with a prototype of your app in the early stage of app development. You need to deeply review the prototype of your app as it is going to be the outlook of your final app. Check all the features, appearance, UI, UX, etc. Carry out all the mistakes as they can be solved at this stage without significant changes in cost or time duration. 

5. Testing and More Testing 

Whether you are developing the app on your own or a team is doing it for you, make sure that the final app undergoes a repetitive testing session. It helps to identify the bugs in the process, remove them and make the application smoother. The testing phase plays the most prominent role in enhancing the user experience. 

6. Upload to The Respective Platform 

Once the application is finalized from your side, upload it to the respective platform. Make it available to your audience via App Store or Play store, whichever you focused on in the beginning. 

7. Post Upload 

Developing an app and making it available is not enough in this competitive market. You need to make sure that people know about your app. Perform marketing and advertising. Tell people about the app. Provide timely updates on the app. Instill the trending and latest features to maintain the user base. 

Perfect Team for Building A Catering Mobile App

A perfect team to help you develop a food catering app will consist of the following members:

Tech Stack for Creating a Catering App  

Tech Stack for Building a Catering App  
Tech Stack for Building a Catering App  
Android Kotlin, Android SDK, Ruby on Rails, React, Node JS, Codeigniter
iOSFabric iOS, Objective C, Swift, Laravel
Cloud StorageAmazon AWS, Microsoft Azure
DatabasePostgres, Redis, MySQL, MongoDB
Payment GatewaysPayPal, Stripe, Braintree
Real-Time Analytics Google Analytics, Spark
Push Notifications MAP, Twilio

Learn more: What third party API is needed to develop a food delivery app?

Cost of Developing a Food Catering Mobile App

The app development cost is never fixed, and a tag can never be stitched to it. Developing an app can be more like buying a smartphone from the market. You can get a smartphone for $300 as well as $1000. Both will have the same fundamental functionalities. However, the price depends on the brand, features, specifications, and quality that you want in your smartphone.

Similarly, the cost of developing the app depends largely on what features you want to instill in your application. The app development cost can multiply as well as divide as per your choice and preference. 

However, it can be estimated that developing a catering app will cost you anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000. It is going to depend entirely on the number of hours the app development team is spending on your project.  

Tips for Developing & Marketing a Catering App

1. Identify Your Target Audience 

You should develop the app according to your target audience only or you should target the audience according to your app only. Focusing on the defined target audience will help you significantly engage in efficient marketing and advertising. 

2. Instill the Necessary Features 

The cost of app development will depend exclusively on the features you provide. However, it doesn’t mean you should cut the cost by cutting the features. If the app is not carrying the necessary and competitive features, you might not be able to make space for yourself in the market. 

3. Focus on Integration

This is the industry where you should focus on integration while developing the app. The more integrated your app is, the broader the target audience you can focus on. If your app can compare a number of caterers, book the service, find the job, manage the event, and do other tasks, the target audience will automatically get wide. 

4. Perform the Marketing 

Very limited food catering apps have been introduced so far. Hence it provides you with a competitive advantage. But at the same time, people are also unaware of these kinds of apps. So you will have to perform efficient marketing to tell people about the product. If advertising is carried out efficiently, the application’s success chances will be significantly enhanced. 

How Can We Help You?

We at Emizentech have a complete team of app development, business analysts, market experts, and marketing geniuses. So, we won’t only help you develop the app, but we will ensure that you make the right decision at every stage. We will help you conduct market research, develop the vision, and connect with experienced and inventive developers. Our marketing experts will help you to provide tips for expanding the reach of your app to a broad consumer base. Our market research team will help you know about the industry you are entering in. 

You can have free counseling with one of the business analysts to get all your doubts sorted.

Wrapping Up

Like any other industry, the food catering industry is also shifting online. The development of a range of food catering apps is transforming the overall scenario of how people connect to caterers. Similarly, these platforms are also helping catering businesses to explore and serve the vast consumer base in different corners of the market. Different kinds of apps in the food catering industry are fulfilling the different needs of users. Some apps are designed especially for the user base willing to make a career in the food and catering industry. 

Whether or not you are working in the industry, app development can open doors for your business and financial growth. By serving the target audience and managing the platform effectively, the app will provide you with a decent passive income. 

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CTO at Emizentech and a member of the Forbes technology council, Amit Samsukha, is acknowledged by the Indian tech world as an innovator and community builder. He has a well-established vocation with 12+ years of progressive experience in the technology industry. He directs all product initiatives, worldwide sales and marketing, and business enablement. He has spearheaded the journey in the e-commerce landscape for various businesses in India and the U.S.