This is in reply to airline catering. As I work for an airline in catering, I have some insight to what goes on behind the scenes. Every airline works with the caterer on what they want on their aircraft.
Flight Kitchens are big because they need large storerooms to hold everything, and anything with the airline logo on it. Sugar packets, creamer, beverage & dinner napkins, silverware, plates etc.
The flight kitchens have people whose job is just to keep track of inventory. Then they have to let each airline know what they need supply wise. Most times if it is small amounts it can be sent as COMAT or Company Material onboard the aircraft as cargo.
Most airlines work with the caterer to come up with menu ideas. Airlines can tell the cater we want this item or that item, but we will only pay this price. The Caterer can buy locally items like meat, eggs, ice cream, dairy. But when it comes to beer, wine, etc., some airlines only want Coke not Pepsi or Miller MGD but not Budweiser. If they serve a brand not found locally, then it must be shipped in.
We used to have a commissary in LAS
, but we would ship in our coffee, as we could not get it locally or we could get a better price in MSP
. The same with beer, and the Bloody Mary mix. Since we were flying DC-10 to LAS
, we would send whole pallets of stuff.
Now we do things a little different, as we only have a commissary in MSP
. Every flight that leaves MSP
has food for both flights. Out and back. The outbound food is packed in the oven inserts, the return food is in boxes and then put into the food carts. After the Flight Attendants serve you your meal they then load the ovens with the food for the return flight. On the longer flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Anchorage, we give the passengers a little extra. With the breakfast sandwich they get a bag of fruit snacks, or cookies with the lunch or dinner sandwich.
First Class is done almost the same. Your out bound food is in the oven inserts, But instead of the all the food being on a small dish, it is in a small foil pan and the flight attendants serve it up on a plate, then take the try set ups out of the cart and serve you the try. On the tray is a plate, silverware, napkin, salt pepper, any fruit, mini muffins, or roll, butter. Sometimes desert is on the try or it is served after you are done.
The amount of food in the pan depends on size of the portions. If breakfast is an omelet then potatoes,& sausage is also in the pan. Servings can be 2 or 4. Lunch / dinner can be in separate pans. Entrée in one, vegetables in another, rice or potatoes in a 3rd. Entrée, rice, potatoes, & veggies can have 4 servings in a pan . We have 12 First class passengers so we have 3 pans of each. We keep everything separate so they don’t get soggy.
We then have everything packed in a food cart for first class in one cart. Keep in mind most of our flights are out and back so they are carrying on food for 2 flights. We do have a flight that does 4 legs so it does get crazy trying to pack all that food.
We change First class menu about every 4 to 6 months. The kitchen people come up with ideas for the menu, then they put on a luncheon were the Director of In flight and anyone she wants to bring, like CEO, COO, or some of the staff from corporate headquarters. They eat talk, then the Director looks at prices, and can suggest some changes. With in a few weeks we change the menu.
When the plane comes back in the afternoon we restock the plane with coffee, juice, hot & cold cups, etc.
The dirty carts and oven inserts are removed and replaced with new items for the next flight. The trash removed. Fresh ice is put onboard and we check with the flight attendants to make sure they have everything then we go on to the next flight.
When we get back to commissary we unload everything , and the dirty food carts and ovens go to the dish room and get washed. The liquor carts, soda carts etc., go to the liquor room for cleaning and restocking.
The cycle continues.
I hope this helps.