IBJNews

INSIDE DISH: Fairgrounds caterer revels in year-round gig

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Inside Dish

Welcome back to IBJ’s video feature “Inside Dish: The Business of Running Restaurants.”

With the Indiana State Fair in full swing, "Inside Dish" switches its focus a bit this week to catering. It might not occur to Indiana State Fair visitors gorging on country-fried bacon at the Barto's Catering & Concessions booths that the Fairgrounds buzz year-round with events that require food-and-beverage service. Barto's is the main caterer for the Fairgrounds throughout the year, in addition to running concession booths during the fair and other events. It's headquartered in the Farm Bureau Building with a 2,500-square-foot kitchen that can feed thousands per meal, plus event rooms that together can seat close to 1,000 people.

Owner John Barto, 51, started the business in 1990, after serving a managerial apprenticeship of sorts with the building's previous occupant, Berry's Banquets and Concessions. With $1,000 borrowed from his father to purchase equipment, Barto contracted with the Indiana State Fair Commission to take over the facility and began providing food at the Fairgrounds. Family and friends helped with staffing, and Berry's loaned him some additional equipment.

Barto's also provides catering for all manner of events outside the Fairgrounds, as big as the Indianapolis Air Show and as tiny as a backyard tea party for pre-teen girls. "How could I turn that down?" Barto said.

In the video below, Barto discusses starting the firm from scratch, the broad scope of events he now serves, and how the recession has tightened his customers' purse strings.



 

x
x
x
Barto's Catering & Concessions
x
The Farm Bureau Building on the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St.
x
(317) 926-4936
x
x
www.thefoodguys.net
x
x
x
Concept: Headquartered on the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Barto's is the Fairgrounds' main on-site caterer for events year-round. It also offers catering services for off-premises events.
x
Founded: 1990
x
Owner: John Barto
x
Start-up costs: $1,000 (with some equipment loaned from John Barto's previous employer and staffing help from friends and family)
x
Sales/profit: $1.2 million in gross sales/$87,500 in profit (2008); $902,000 in gross sales/broke even (2009). Gross sales for January through June 2010: $546,000.
x
Employees: 5 full-time employees, with other workers hired as contractual labor as needed
x
Seating: The Farm Bureau Building contains event rooms that can seat close to 1,000 people, but Barto's can provide catering for other indoor and outdoor spaces on the Fairgrounds as well.
x
Goals: To better market the Normandy Barn facility on the north side of the Fairgrounds as an event locale, capable of seating about 150.
x
Good to know:  Off-premises catering gigs not connected to the Fairgrounds account for about 20 percent of Barto's total sales.
x
x
x
ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

ADVERTISEMENT