Off campus caterers

  • 1.  Off campus caterers

    Posted 09-16-2019 09:10

    We allow off campus caterers. We have them provide documentation and insurance to become an approved caterer for the campus.

    My question is, for those with similar programs, do you charge a percentage of the catering bill as payment to be on the list? Do you charge an annual fee? To be on the list? If yes, how much?


    Any other variations being used?




    Mark Kraner

    Executive Director for Campus Retail Operations

    3209 Merten Hall

    (o) 703-993-1784




  • 2.  RE: Off campus caterers

    Posted 09-17-2019 11:32
    We do not allow off-campus caterers, except to provide alcohol service (we do not have our own license to serve alcohol across campus). However, we continue to receive a great deal of pressure to allow outside caterers/food on campus - especially for cultural events that require a specific cuisine that our chefs are sometimes challenged with. I'm curious to learn how other campuses (especially self-op like us) navigate the issues that come with accepting or not accepting off-campus caterers.


    Corbin J. Smyth, Ed.D.
    Associate Vice Chancellor | Student Life
    University of Minnesota Duluth
    218.726.8501 |
    He-Him-His | @AVCSmyth

  • 3.  RE: Off campus caterers

    Posted 09-18-2019 09:20
    We have our contracted catering service at the Luciano Conference Center and have also felt the pressure of allowing outside catering (cultural dishes, less cost, etc.)  If we allow outside catering, then overall sales go down as well as our profit share. 

    I'm curious if Mark has a contracted service and how allowing outside food groups has affected their P&L.

    Beatrice Hughes
    Director of Conference & Events Operations

    Coordinator, Leadership Cumberland County

    Director, Migrant Education Program

  (Please note new email)

    Office: 856-691-9196


      "A boss has the title, a leader has the people." - Simon Sinek

  • 4.  RE: Off campus caterers

    Posted 09-19-2019 09:10
    The campus catering is is a $5 Million dollar program and $2 million is done through Approved Caterers. So yes it does have an impact on income. The diversity of needs (ethnic) and travel distance (we are 4 campuses spread over Northern VA) makes it difficult to do all of the catering for the campus. We are just looking to recoup some of the lost income.

    Mark Kraner
    George Mason University
    Executive Director Retail Operations
    Fairfax, Va

  • 5.  RE: Off campus caterers

    Posted 09-18-2019 12:51
    We are in the process of reviewing our policies, but currently and in general we do not allow off site caterers except when we approve an exemption. For culturally specific programs we have offered to bring in as a "consultant" someone from that culture who can assist with the preparation and creation of "authentic" recipes. This appears to be a good compromise for our student groups. When we do offer an exemption we require the caterer to have documented liability insurance as well as current inspection and approval reports from local county health offices. We are also proposing that any offsite caterer allowed on campus is required to pay a percentage of any profits. We do not allow off site food trucks or other vendors on campus, only for special event specific times. It is always best to offer compromises when it makes sense and when we can somewhat control the safety for our students and meet them halfway in their desire for "authentic" food items.

    Joseph Pearson, CASP
    Central Washington University
    Executive Director Auxiliary Enterprises
    Ellensburg WA
    (509) 963-1580

  • 6.  RE: Off campus caterers

    Posted 09-19-2019 09:15
    Hi Mark (and all),

    My experience directly as a conference center professional, is to charge a commission to any approved outside catering company that is equal to the commission rate that the contract company is paying for catering invoices.  For instance, if we were getting 10% commission on all catering as per our contract with our contracted catering company, we also charge the external company the same fee.  We also charged an annual fee to be on the approved catering list.  We developed a list that provided services that we did not.  To be on the list, they had to prove insurance coverage and ServSafe certification.

    Hope this helps!

    Chuck Salem

    Chuck Salem
    Unique Venues
    Fairfax VA
    (703) 520-5084