Case Study: Gate Gourmet Ensures Quality Airline Catering

By Norbert van den Berg and Pascal Inauen

Airline catering has unique challenges compared to other types of foodservice. Restaurants, for instance, have a fixed physical address, while servers and diners aboard aircraft leave the physical presence of the earth; have a confined area for food preparation and consumption; and largely consume meals hours rather than minutes after the food was initially prepared.

Gate Gourmet, whose parent company gategroup is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, with corporate centers in Reston, VA, and London, UK, prepares 250+ million airline meals a year at more than 120 flight kitchens around the world. The company conducts as many as 1,200 food safety checks each day and maintains a food safety record that’s considered among the best in the foodservice industry.

HACCP guides the numerous quality-focused procedures across the entire production process and supply chain. Goods are inspected for foreign bodies, prohibited items, and overall quality and sensory characteristics. Strict standard operating procedures govern how dishes are washed and preparation surfaces are cleaned and sanitized. Employees undergo robust training regarding hygiene, sanitation and proper food handling procedures. And time and temperature of foods are carefully monitored and recorded throughout the day. All of these measures and more are regularly evaluated by airline customers, government agencies, and independent third-party auditors.

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