Dining at 30,000 feet is no problem when the plane is loaded with food from Gate Gourmet. The foodservice company is one of the world's largest in-flight caterers, alongside rival LSG Sky Chefs. Gate Gourmet prepares more than 200 million meals each year for travelers. It serves customers from its 100 flight kitchens in more than 25 countries. The company boasts contracts with about 250 airlines, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Thai Airways. Gate Gourmet also offers consulting on menu and service design, cost monitoring, and logistics. Gate Gourmet began in 1992 as the catering arm of Swissair; it is now part of the publicly traded gategroup.
Both Gate Gourmet and LSG Sky Chefs have suffered declining business as many airlines seek to reduce costs by cutting back on meal service. Several carriers, especially in the US, have eliminated in-flight meals from many domestic flights or offer only modest selections to those not flying first class.
In response, Gate Gourmet offers convenience-meal services in addition to its traditional in-flight menus and premium catering services. The new food choices offer lower costs to customers while still allowing them to provide in-flight dining services. As an alternative, Gate Gourmet is choosing to cash out of certain agreements it holds in airports, such as its wholly owned facility at the Lisbon airport. In early 2011, Gate Gourmet sold its stake in the Portuguese operation to Newrest.
To fill in the revenue gap, Gate Gourmet has expanded into non-flight foodservices, offering meal services on Amtrak trains in the US and some rail services in Europe. In 2009 it landed a deal with Italy's Cremonini to cater for Spain's national rail company RENFE. In late 2010 Gate Gourmet acquired Cara Operations' Airline Solutions unit, a Canada-based foodservice provider with about 10 locations in airports across the country. The unit also caters for more than 50 airlines and railways, including Air Canada, Jazz Air, and VIA Rail Canada. With Cara under its wing, Gate Gourmet made a strong first impression on the Canadian market. Also in late 2010 Gate Gourmet, through its joint venture with India Hospitality Corp., acquired a majority stake in Skygourmet, an airline caterer with operations at six of India's major airports as well as a franchise setup. Skygourmet serves Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, and NACIL flights within India. The deal strengthens Gate Gourmet's presence in the fast-growing Asia/Pacific region and significantly expands the firm's existing operations in India, a foodservice business in the resort town of Goa.
After a series of acquisitions in 2007, Gate Gourmet reorganized under the gategroup brand, an international alliance of service brands that include 10 other companies, such as Gate Aviation (airliner cleaning in the UK and Europe), Gate Safe (security and inspection services), and Pourshins (transportation logistics and technology services). – less