Catering (noun): “The provision of food and drink at a social event or other gathering, typically as a professional service.”
The History of Catering in the United States
Catering has a rich history, dating back to the 4th millennium BC in China. Officially, the Ancient Greeks made catering a trade by offering services at their inns and hostels which lasted into the Roman Empire. Throughout the centuries Catering was primarily for feasts and banquets for Kings and Noblemen.
In America, catering dates back all the way to our country’s beginning and has continued to evolve as our nation progresses. Take a look at this brief timeline, noting some of the Catering Industries major milestones in the United States of America.
A ball in Philadelphia, catered by Caesar Cranshell, was the first major catering event in the United States.
Catering became a respectable and profitable business, and it was mainly founded by African Americans. In the early years of catering many caterers were waiters and other restaurant staff.
Robert Bogle is known as the “Originator of Catering”, he made it possible for the industry to personalize what they wanted catering to be. Many catering businesses began to partner and combine with their restaurants.
Around this time catering businesses started to simplify their menus in order to ration their food supply during World War II. During the time of the war, catering was a great way for people to stay in business.
Home cooked meals were no longer the norm for most people. They had become so used to eating in public catering facilities in order to preserve and ration the food supply during the war.
By the 2000’s catering really started to become popular especially with more women starting to enter the workforce. Housewives used to try to do their own catering out of their homes however it was not sustainable due to their limited kitchens and space. They would bring their food to parties/events and help serve the food. As they started to legitimize their business practices and embrace new styles of cooking, the Catering industry became held in the higher regard right next many to 5-Star restaurants
Many restaurants and organizations have also begun adding “Catering” departments to their business models to enhance their brand. Today when you seek out a legitimate catering company to provide food for your event, they will usually provide a lot more services than just the food. Many will have an event planner on their staff and provide table decor and event details like licensing for fireworks. The services provided by catering companies are meant to be everything that is needed or required for your event to be successful.