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Companies in this industry contract to provide food services at commercial, institutional, and governmental locations. Major companies include Aramark, Centerplate, and Delaware North (all based in the US), as well as Autogrill (Italy), Compass Group (UK), Elior Group (France), Sodexo (France), and SSP Group (UK).
The global market for on-site food services at businesses, hospitals, schools, and entertainment venues is worth about $250 billion, about half of which is outsourced to third-party contractors, according to Compass Group. Key growth markets for the industry include China, India, Japan, Spain, Ireland, and Germany. Weak economic conditions have stalled growth in Brazil in recent years, but the industry continues to expand in Latin American markets such as Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. Development of luxury hotels and tourist attractions in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar is increasing demand for contract food services in the Middle East.
The US food service contracting industry includes about 27,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $37 billion.
Demand is driven by employment trends and consumer tastes. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and food quality. Large companies have advantages in economies of scale in food and equipment purchasing, off-site food preparation, and distribution. Small companies can compete effectively by specializing in unique food products or local markets. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies ...
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