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Who's News in Catering for March 30, 2024

Hot Off the Presses

Graze Craze®, the world’s leading charcuterie franchise, is celebrating 2023 as a record-breaking year of growth where it nearly doubled its brand footprint, opening 35 new locations throughout the year. The brand made entry into new U.S. states including Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Nevada, and New Mexico, as well as launched international operations in Australia and France. The rapidly growing concept also signed 51 franchise agreements in 2023 and has plans to develop new locations in the coming years in key markets like Quebec, Southern California, and New England. In addition to its significant unit growth in 2023, Graze Craze also achieved notable sales success with Q4 marking its 10th consecutive quarter of positive growth, which has propelled the brand’s performance in the first two months of 2024. Graze Craze has already seen a 38% increase in comp sales for existing stores over 2023 and is on track to close out Q1 as another positive quarter. Contributing to this growth was the brand’s ongoing commitment to menu innovation. Graze Craze introduced a new signature board to its menu in 2023, the Brunch Board, which allowed the brand to target and serve a new daypart and has become the perfect bagel-and-donut brunch alternative, well-received by customers and franchise owners alike. Graze Craze also rolled out several limited-time boards throughout 2023, including its Game Day Board in September and Holiday Board in November, the latter of which accounted for 27% of the brand’s systemwide sales in the month of December. Looking ahead, Graze Craze will maintain its focus on providing its customers with curated convenience, offering catering and dining solutions that appeal to a variety of taste palettes and diets. The brand is on track to open 60 locations in 2024, 15-20 of which are projected to open in the first quarter alone. The brand is also accelerating its international expansion with the opening of its first store in Quebec in Canada. By year-end, Graze Craze has a goal to surpass 100+ locations and have an established footprint in five countries worldwide. With 175 total locations in its development pipeline to be opened in the next several years, Graze Craze is well-positioned for long-term and sustainable future growth.  


Perkins Restaurant and Bakery®, a leading family dining brand, is springing into the Easter season, offering a delectable selection of homestyle favorites at over 40 locations. Perkins is bringing the brand’s iconic breakfast, bakery, burgers, and more to help guests stress less with life’s special moments. The Perkins catering menu features affordable homestyle favorites with generous portion sizes, all held to the highest freshness and quality standards. Why toil in the kitchen when you can revel in festivities stress-free, thanks to Perkins hassle-free catering service? Whether it's a family gathering or a corporate event, ordering from Perkins is a breeze through the Perkins website, available for pickup or delivery. For delivery, an order minimum is set at 10 people and a minimum order of $150. Perkins intends to continue adding more locations to the platform in the coming months. 

Venue News

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center near Orlando, Fla. just officially reopened following an extensive, $7.25 million renovation on its flagship restaurant, Old Hickory Steakhouse. The project included remodeling and refurnishing of the interior and exterior took place, with new features built specifically for meetings and convention groups hosting events at the resort. Other new elements include a new show kitchen, a new exterior look and feel, and an expanded bar and lounge area designed to accommodate more guests. Old Hickory Steakhouse is the only restaurant featured at all five Gaylord Hotels in the country, and will open at Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center near San Diego, when the resort opens next year.

Products on the Market

Tillamook has launched a new line of Whole Milk Mozzarella. Whole Milk Mozzarella is the third new product (in as many months) from the premium, multi-category dairy brand in 2024 and is sure to be a fan favorite, joining Brick Cream Cheese, an extra creamy and smooth cream cheese experience, and a Chocolate Ice Cream Collection, four decadent ice cream flavors made for the chocolate obsessed.

The new Tillamook Whole Milk Mozzarella line includes an assortment of four mozzarella products, made with whole milk that delivers full flavor and the creamy melt you crave:

People on the Move

Nuno Rodrigues has been named Food & Beverage Director of The Statler, a Curio Collection by Hilton hotel managed by Aimbridge Hospitality, the leading global third-party hotel operator. Rodrigues is a perfect fit for The Statler with over 20 years of international hospitality experience and a focus on hotel food and beverage outlets. His most recent position was at Mayfair Hospitality Street Partners in Alpharetta, Georgia, where he was Vice President of Food and Beverage. Before that, he served as Food & Beverage Director at The Hamilton Alpharetta, another Curio Collection by Hilton hotel. At The Statler, Rodrigues will direct all food and beverage operations to include managing and building concepts and staff training. The main goal is to increase revenue and service quality at The Statler’s four food and beverage outlets, Scout, Overeasy, Bourbon & Banter and Waterproof. Rodrigues describes his leadership style as a team player who values every staff member’s ideas – his favorite thing is seeing staff members grow and develop. Rodrigues has also served as Director of Outlets at 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida, where he implemented an outlet revenue strategy resulting in a 20% increase in revenue per available room and a 12% increase in overall hotel profitability. He was also Assistant General Manager at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Atlanta, bringing a truly well-rounded background to the new role. Rodrigues holds an MBA in financial business and hotel management from Lusíada University in Lisbon, Portugal, and is a certified food and beverage executive (CBFE) with a ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification.