Bad News? - deal with it!

February 1, 2024

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Let me start with a uncool admission - I'm a fan of 'Good News- Bad News' jokes. You know the type...Man goes to the doctor for tests and the doctor comes back and says I have good news and bad news. Which one do you want to hear first? The man opts for the good news. Doc says, “we’re naming a new disease after you”.."

You smiled, admit it... however when it comes to the catering and restaurant sector, although there is good news and bad news, there has been little to laugh about over the last 3 years… But things are getting better across the Catering and Restaurant sector - there is a steady return to work for many and that will increase. As we have monitored Spoonfed users over the last year we can see that their order numbers are increasing – and encouragingly, the order values are increasing too.

Bad news? Deal with it!!

However it’s not all good news - the cost of food is soaring, staff costs are rising and these teams are more and more stretched, and customers are still watching their spend too. And even the return of the caterer's customer base to the workplace is tempered by hybrid working patterns. It's now as important as ever for catering managers to watch the margins – we have the tools to make that possible?

Keep up to Speed

When menu item prices are fluctuating things may need to change! Having the ability to update menu costs, or remove/replace items easily is vital. Spoonfed users have full access to their online menus and can make unlimited changes to prices and to any menu items and their associated allergens/calorie details. But what if a customer selects ‘Re-Order’ to get something they had last month? If a menu has been changed (in price or content) since that order, they will get a notification that this menu is no longer available. Frictionless = crucial time saving for already stretched team

Manage the Menus

As we just considered, menu management is crucial…but it doesn’t just need to be about increased costs. Building fixed price menus with ‘Extras’ sections and ‘Up Sells’ is another way to generate revenue – we can show you how to be smart with setting up your menus. Portion control too from item to item can be managed for platters and, if you are making tweaks to menus, clear kitchen notes (which appear on the production notes) can be left for the kitchen staff to get it right every time.

Manage the Staff

We noted above that having the right system takes the pressure of stretched team. The question of team size has big implications for the day to day costs of any business. The hybrid working patterns of caterer’s customers may mean that the need for the same size of team on a Monday and Tuesday compared to the rest of the week is just not reasonable…using a range of automated tools can allow managers to control what is on offer, and when it is on offer, throughout the week. Managing staff size while still a having a range of catering on offer is possible with the correct tech solutions and is superbly cost effective.

Be Clever with the Charges

Of course, you can set a minimum Order value for taking orders. But using Service Charges is where you can really start being clever across a number of areas, eg. applying charges when the order value is less than or greater than X. And you can make the charge a fixed price or percentage of the order amount. Having comprehensive control on Delivery Charges too is another key area where you can make sure that revenue isn't lost – each delivery zone with their own rules for when charges apply is key to getting this just right.

Using these tools, and the business use-cases developed for catering managers, will help with the demands placed on catering businesses at the moment and allow them to watch the margins and still offer great customer service.