Considering contract catering for your workplace? Digest our handy guide

The UK’s contract catering market has seen strong growth in recent years, fuelled by  evolving workplace environments and a heightened focus on health and wellbeing for employees. With the UK industry now valued at billions, contract catering is more than proving its value for businesses right across the UK. To help you decide if contract catering is the right move for your workplace or business, we've put together a handy guide to this tasty sector.

First things first, what is contract catering?

Contract catering involves a company providing catering services to a business or organisation for a specific amount of time. As workplace contract caterers, you’ll find Eurest anywhere from office headquarters to industrial sites and warehouses.

But you’ll also find contract caterers operating within many different spaces for both private and public purposes, including schools, offices, hospitals and event venues. Whichever your purpose and setting, by contracting a catering specialist, you can focus on doing what you do best while enabling the experts to tailor food and drink experiences for their employees or visitors.

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A bit about catering contracts

Catering contracts are customised to suit the unique needs of each business, taking factors like organisational size, service scope and budget into account. Whether managing day-to-day culinary operations or catering for special events, contract catering offers flexible solutions that deliver dining experiences while maximising operational efficiency.

The main types of catering contracts you’ll see are:

Cost Plus: Caterer operates within a budget and client assumes the risk for overspend and reward on underspend. Subsidy may vary monthly.

Cost Plus Guarantee: Similar to Cost Plus, but the caterer guarantees certain budget lines. Any increase in sales reduces the client's subsidy.

Nil subsidy/cost: Caterer sets prices and manages costs independently, suitable for high-volume sites. No cost to the client.

Fixed Price/Cost/Subsidy: Annual budget divided into fixed weekly or monthly subsidies charged to the client. Caterer assumes the risk for overspending.

Concession: In addition to nil subsidy, client receives a percentage return of sales monthly. Typically used in high-volume retail environments.

More on workplace catering

Workplace catering is when an organisation hires an independent caterer to provide their everyday workplace food and drink services. From prepping sandwiches for an office deli to serving hot meals to warehouse workers on shift, workplace catering contracts are designed to complement both the diverse needs of the employees and the goals of the wider business.

At Eurest, we take an innovative and personalised approach to our client’s workplaces - using the power of food and nutrition to fuel ambitious goals and give employees a reason to eat at work. Coffee in the workplace can be a real draw – whether you want to bring a High Street brand into your office, support a social enterprise or charity or even create your own bespoke coffee offer, the choice is yours.

Who benefits from contract catering?

With its flexible and scalable approach, contract catering provides for the unique needs of its client, serving up a blend of convenience, quality and variety.

Whether it's a bustling office restaurant or canteen, a hospital cafeteria with large footfall or a lively school lunchroom, contract catering is the go-to choice for any business or organisation looking to simplify their operations while satisfying the appetites of their employees or customers.

The perks of contract catering

Contract catering has a host of benefits for employers and business owners:

Builds community
A well-designed staff restaurant encourages employee connections, promoting collaboration and breaking down departmental silos.  

Supports employee wellbeing 
With contract catering, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to employee wellbeing, reducing absenteeism and creating a positive work environment. 

A great tool for attracting talent  
Research shows that prospective employees view companies with contract catering solutions more favourably, making it an effective tool for talent acquisition. 81% of Gen Z said that an on-site employee restaurant would positively influence their decision to join an employer (Global Eating at Work Survey 2023).

Bolsters a business’s sustainability efforts 
Choosing a contract caterer with a strong sustainability focus (Eurest has a net zero target by 2030) is an easy way of helping your business with its goals and credentials and managing part of your Scope 3 emissions.

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Delicious, sustainable contract catering from Eurest

Considering contract catering for your workplace? Eurest is here to help. Our planet-positive food and drink services help employees feel well, fuels concentration, supports collaboration and boosts productivity - all in a way that’s designed to complement your business needs and priorities.

To find out more, call us on 0121 457 5207 or email us at



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