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. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1

ADVERTISEMENT