Even when you can’t get a meal in the sky, you could be enjoying top quality airplane food on the ground.

With airlines increasingly trimming in-light services and meals, catering and onboard services companies have to be clever about protecting their business and finding sales to pay for their complex world-wide infrastructure. Nobody knows this better than Lufthansa’s LSG Sky Chefs, which has successfully diversified its business beyond sales in flight to lounges, trains, schools and other special venues.

The company can prepare the next sandwich wrap you buy at the corner store, serve your meal on your high-speed train in Europe, then cater your Hong Kong wedding.

This September, LSG Sky Chefs was awarded a three-year contract to supply custom catering services to French train operator iDTGV, in cooperation with French coffee-shop chain Columbus Café and Company. It has also recently won a train services contract with Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori (NTV), a privately owned high speed train operator in Italy.

LSG will provide food production, beverage supply and trolley packing for the Italian trains under the .italo brand providing meals and drinks in the trains’ Club and Prima Ambience (the equivalent of first and business class) and fill the vending machines in the Smart (economy) section of the train. In Germany, LSG Sky Chefs, participated in the InnoTrans show, Berlin, to showcase its portfolio in order to attract more railway business.

“Before 1990, airlines clearly dominated transportation on medium- and long-haul distances,” explained Stefan Patermann, LSG Sky Chefs’ Vice President Business Development and Strategy Europe. “Since then, high-speed train (HST) operators have absorbed a portion of the market share from airlines on short-haul distances thanks the extension of high-speed lines across Europe.” Paterman adds: “Given our extensive knowledge and experience in this arena, we are the perfect partner for HST operators.”

The company’s Professional Catering Services in Hong Kong capitalizes on the LSG’s experience, infrastructure, and top-chefs to provide catering services to schools, and corporations. The Hong Kong division even offers a special banquet service.

LSG is well protected against shrinking demand for in-flight meals with other service and product offerings. The firm also operates and manages airport lounges, and supplies food and beverage services to about 25 airports around the world. Its Fine choice provides packaged foods, prepared meals and snacks to retail outlets in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Its Ringeltaube division even takes advantage of the company’s onboard retail capabilities to offer special purchases of everything from foods to fashion to catalog and online customers in Germany.

LSG Sky Chefs is a Lufthansa Group company, which secures its future by providing a number of other centre of excellence services to customers within aviation and beyond. Lufthansa Cargo provides world-wide freight and logistics services; Lufthansa Technik provides engineering and product development services and is well regarded, among other capabilities, for its VIP aircraft seating division.

Lufthansa Systems provides IT services, worldwide, to a wide range of transport and tourism companies. It is also behind the popular BoardConnect wireless IFE product, sold to a number of airlines around the world, which can transmit entertainment and in-flight services to passenger’s personal electronic devices.

Photo Credit: LSG Sky Chefs also services airplanes. LSG Sky Chefs