Arts, Culture and Education: The Changing Face of Commercial Catering

The way we place food in our day-to-day lives has been transforming over the years, evolving from being perceived as ‘food as fuel’ to something so central and important to us as people. Precincts have been elevated and now offer a number of outlets from small operators through to the majors as well as an extremely diverse mix to match Today’s discerning customer. The foods we have available to us now are vastly different today to what we used to. You can get more than a sandwich, burger or sushi but instead some freshly made noodles, Michelin-star dumplings, a superfood salad or a cold-pressed juice. 

This change is not only happening in our retail spaces. We tend to talk a lot about centres and shopping precincts but with major projects in the areas of arts, culture and education (ACE) - we are seeing food change in these spaces as well and are working with a number of teams both from the catering company side of things as well as the leasing and management side. With the growth of food around the globe, these ACE institutions and the companies that service them are stepping up their game which means corporate catering is changing just as it has in the retail sector. 

What we are seeing is a development of food strategies that optimise the food experience for the people using these spaces whether it be customers of an art centre, students of a university or employees at an institution. Our focus on these projects is the activation, connection and engagement of the food in these spaces to enhance the overall cultural and learning experience of the user as well as improve business performance. 


The Catering Company

We are no longer limited to the ‘tea and biscuit’ afternoon tea or the standard catered lunch of sandwiches served on platters. We are seeing the uprising of innovative and exciting catering offers which serve up food the people want to eat, not what they have to eat because it’s all they have available to them. Food Rascal, a corporate catering company, is a prime example of the change we are seeing across the catering sector. Food Rascal has teamed up with property giant, Lendlease, to deliver a cafe and collaboration space in their new office space at Barangaroo in Sydney. The company is led by foodie, David O’Brien who places emphasises on local food that is ethically made and of the highest quality and the benefit of doing so has landed them a contract to service a company which is searching for wholesome, nourishing food that both their employees and clients will both gain from. This proves that there is space for change and innovation is happening which is being well received by people who seek corporate catering services. 

Lend Lease's company cafe led by Food Rascals at their new Barangaroo head quarters 

Lend Lease's company cafe led by Food Rascals at their new Barangaroo head quarters 

The Institution, Cultural Centre or University

It’s not only the catering companies that are elevating their service, it is also changing at the other end with institutions, cultural spaces and educational facilities becoming more discerning about food and realising what hospitality and food can do for conveying their core values and company image. We can look at the example above with Lendlease, a leading institution which has taken the step to incorporate hospitality and food into their business values which matches their health and wellbeing ethos as well as their brand new, state-of-the-art office space. 

Mr Grazier at NAB's head office in the Docklands, Melbourne

The University of Melbourne's weekly Farmer's Market showcasing local produce, suppliers and food-makers

Lendlease is not the only one taking part in this change either. Universities, art centres and institutions such as the National Australia Bank are all incorporating a hospitality strategy into their business structure realising that it not only provides the users with access to a variety of healthy and exciting options but can also build on their overall image which conveys a message to the broader community. 

With the hospitality category going through a major stage of growth that doesn’t appear to be slowing, it is no wonder that it’s not only retail spaces and their operators are not the only the one’s stepping it up. As food is also being a major component of arts, culture and educational centres and spaces, there is an exciting opportunity to elevate the offer by redefining what corporate catering looks like and how this is implemented as an overall hospitality strategy. The change is already happening and we can only expect it the momentum to increase as food continues to ground itself as an important, meaningful and exciting part of our lives.