Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced a plan to move into the event catering market.
Chief executive Stuart Rose last week appointed Richard Flint to the new role of head of food development to study the profitability of the move and report back in January.
A spokeswoman for the company said: "It's still very early days. The idea came about because Stuart has often attended events where he is disappointed with the catering."
She added that M&S will look at either supplying caterers with food or running the catering operation directly.
"This is part of a wider trend," said Tony Horton, managing director of food service consultancy Tricon. "There is huge room for growth in the food service sector and retailers understandably want to find ways in."
But he added that Marks & Spencer would have to adapt to the contract catering model in order to succeed. "There's a difference between stacking shelves high and delivering decent food service," he said.
Marks & Spencer has already begun testing takeaway hot food counters at two London stores.
by Tom Bill