Skip navigation
220414_Food2You_FM_069 (2).jpeg Food2You
Greg Ingles, the company’s founder and president, says the catering company uses “ lots of color,” including two vegetables a day and lots of “bright, fresh, beautiful vegetables and fresh fruit.”

Veggies? Preschoolers say, “Yes, please!”

Daycare caterer Food2You finds success by focusing on color, whole ingredients and fresh produce.

“It’s a really fun business because kids are really fun customers.”

That’s how Greg Ingles, president of the Chicago-based company Food2You, describes his company’s work. Food2You is a daycare food and catering company that exclusively serves early education centers. Right now, they have 80 of these accounts in the Chicago area; in all, they serve breakfast, lunch, snacks and milk to 6,400 children every day, from infants to six year olds.

Ingles says they do the heavy lifting for their customers, providing the meals and snacks that the state requires while ensuring that foods not only meet nutritional standards but are made from fresh ingredients and are delicious to kids.

“We use lots of color,” he says, noting that the state board of education requires “visual texture” in school meals, which means that foods need to appeal to the eye as well as the taste buds. To do so, they serve two vegetables a day and lots of “bright, fresh, beautiful vegetables and fresh fruit.”

Examples from the spring lunch menu include a Tuscan tri-color bean pasta with peas and tomato served with green and yellow beans and fresh apples; chicken fajitas or tofu verde on whole grain tortillas served with mozzarella, a four-veggie blend and fresh bananas; and marinara meatballs or veggie crumbles served with whole grain rolls, broccoli, cauliflower and fresh cantaloupe.


In the fall, Food2You will start operating out of a new, 20,000-square-foot production facility that will allow them to serve more accounts and to make all of the items they serve from scratch.

Breakfasts include items such as whole grain granola, apple spice muffins, chicken sausage and pancakes with pear purée. They serve only plain organic milk.

They develop seasonal menus that cycle monthly with no meal or snack repeats. To create their menus, a team composed of Ingles and the group’s executive chef, sous chef and operations manager brainstorms ideas based on seasonal produce, feedback from parents and staff, and past reactions of the kids themselves.

After decades of honing their menu-making skills, they’ve come up with offerings that work for everyone.

“Some things we think are going to be a hit are a total fail. And some things that we don’t think are going to be a hit, the kids are wild about,” Ingles says. “The interesting thing is that when you’re writing a menu for little kids as an adult, you expect the kids…to eat the food the way you planned it. But kids eat however they want.” The trickiest part, he reports, is coming up with items that kids will eat enthusiastically but that also looks pleasing on paper, so parents feel confident that the food is creative and nutritious. 


Food2You serves breakfast, lunch, snacks and milk to 6,400 Chicago preschoolers every day.

Their customer base is wide-ranging: private early education centers, corporate-owned centers, franchises, college daycare centers, YMCAs, Jewish community centers, and more.

To meet a variety of dietary needs, they provide a vegetarian option alongside animal protein entrées and develop a monthly companion menu that’s free of gluten, wheat, egg, dairy, soy, fish, peanuts and tree nuts.

Ingles worked in catering from the start of his career and founded his own catering company in 2005. In 2009, they took on a university as a client, a contract that included a corporate-owned campus child care center. The meals at that center were such a success that the owners asked Ingles to provide the food for as many of their locations as possible.

In 2014, the company started serving daycare centers exclusively. “It’s amazing how fast your business can grow,” he remembers, “when you have a product that people really want and need.”

Food2You handles all operations with a staff of 20, a number that includes their culinary workers, drivers and leaders. They make all meals at a centrally located commissary site. They prepare most meals from scratch the day before deliveries and warm everything to serving temperatures — or keep them cold — and deliver to sites on weekday mornings. They make their own deliveries, using seven different routes that leave the commissary on a staggered schedule, between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m.

Before the start of the 2023-24 school year, Food2You will start operating out of a new, 20,000-square-foot production facility. Ingles says the new building will allow them to maximize efficiency so they can serve more accounts. It will also give them more storage space, which will allow them to make more of their menu items in-house.

For instance, they will switch from a pre-made muffin base batter to a house-made batter. They’ll also start making pancakes and breakfast biscuits from scratch and preparing their own fresh-cut fruits instead of sourcing these from vendors.

Ingles is excited for the change. “We’ll go into 100 percent scratch mode as soon as we have the space.”

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.