Business Aviation Caterers

Buyers' Guide » 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 5:00am

The culinary bar has been raised substantially, and dining in a business jet today is often a memorable experience. Caterers are well aware that growing numbers of their customers are "foodies" who are more than just mouths to feed. And so they have stepped up every aspect of their business, from quality to presentation, and now offer a wide range of organic, ethnic and exotic dishes.

Here is a directory of caterers that primarily or exclusively serve the private aviation market. Some are veritable chains, with kitchens all over the U.S. Others are small, single-kitchen operations. Still others have their own operations but are also affiliated with nationwide catering consolidators; as such, they offer their own dishes as well as menu items shared with their affiliates. Air Chef, with headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, is the largest of these, with more than 23 of its own kitchens, plus affiliates nationwide, and in London and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Aviation Services Network, launched in 2004 by Rudy's Inflight Catering, has 61 affiliates nationwide. Even caterers with a single kitchen, however, will typically deliver to airports as far as 100 miles away.

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Quote/Unquote

“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”

-Howard Guy of Design Q, a UK-based consultancy