How a Catering CRM Differs From a Regular CRM

May 14, 2024

In the competitive world of B2B contract catering, efficient management of customer relationships is not just a benefit—it's a necessity. 

Many caterers rely on outdated manual systems, such as spreadsheets and standalone emails to manage client interactions, order details, and event planning. 

This disjointed approach can lead to missed opportunities, errors in order bookings, and a breakdown in client trust and satisfaction.

A CRM system, especially one tailored for catering's unique needs, goes beyond simple contact management, offering integrated solutions that streamline operations and enhance customer service.

Understanding CRM and Its Impact on Your Catering Business

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is more than just software—it's a strategic tool for managing all your company's relationships and interactions with current and prospective clients. 

These features collectively help businesses by making processes more efficient and enabling a more personalized approach to customer service.

For caterers, a fit-for-purpose CRM system needs to do  the following:

  • Manages Change Effectively: Handles order alterations smoothly, ensuring that changes are updated in real-time across the system and accurately reflected in billing. This prevents discrepancies and ensures clients get the food requested and are billed correctly for the services provided.
  • Centralizes customer data: All relevant information, including contact details, preferences, and previous interactions, is stored in one place.
  • Automates communication: Sends out order confirmations, reminders, follow-ups, and targeted marketing messages automatically.
  • Facilitates better planning: Tracks customer orders, preferences, and all their important feedback reviews, helping to tailor future events to specific tastes and requirements.
  • Improves customer service: Key team members can access data to run comprehensive, bespoke reports on customer growth or decline over selected time frames, comparing and contrasting with other customers.

Specific Challenges in Catering Customer Management

Catering businesses encounter distinct challenges that impact their ability to manage customer relationships effectively. These challenges often stem from the complexities of B2B catering and clients' high expectations. Here's a concise list of these challenges to help you quickly identify and relate to them:

  • Multiple Event Management: Juggling multiple clients and events simultaneously can lead to scheduling conflicts and miscommunication if not managed through a centralized system.
  • Detailed Customization Needs: Each event often has specific, detailed requirements ranging from dietary restrictions to personalized menu preferences, which need to be meticulously recorded and communicated throughout the order process - end to end!
  • Real-Time Communication: Immediate updates and changes from clients require swift communication channels to ensure that the entire team is informed and can adapt quickly without disruptions.
  • High Client Expectations: Clients in the catering industry often have high expectations for personalization and service, which demands flawless execution and attention to detail.
  • Inventory and Resource Allocation: Managing resources and inventory efficiently while ensuring all meetings and events are correctly supplied according to their specific needs.
  • Billing and Invoicing Accuracy: Ensuring accurate and timely invoicing that reflects the agreed-upon services and picks up those typical last-minute changes is vital for transparency and maintaining trust.
  • Feedback Collection and Management: Systematically collect and act upon client feedback to continuously improve service quality, thereby enhancing client satisfaction, loyalty and retention

Choosing and Implementing the Right Catering CRM

Selecting the right CRM for your catering business involves several steps:

  • Assess Your Needs: Understand the specific challenges you need the CRM to address and the processes you want to improve.
  • Feature Set: Look for features specific to catering businesses, such as event management, order collection, order tracking, and real-time customer updates.
  • Integration: Identify the current systems you hope to replace and ensure the CRM can integrate smoothly with the existing tools and software you intend to keep, enhancing rather than complicating your tech stack.
  • Scalability: Choose a CRM that can grow with your business. Consider how the system will handle increased customers and orders as your business expands.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The CRM should be easy for your team to use, with minimal training required. (Important if staff turnover is high)
  • Support and Training: Trusted customer support and training resources are crucial for smooth onboarding and ongoing usage.

How Do Spoonfed's CRM Features Solve Catering Challenges?

Spoonfed's catering CRM is designed specifically with caterers in mind. It addresses many of the pains traditionally associated with customer management in the catering industry. Our Contacts, Quotes, and Orders modules streamline the essential aspects of catering management:

Contacts Module

This tool lets you maintain comprehensive profiles for each client and its contacts, including communication history, preferences, and past orders, ensuring a personalized service.

Key Features:

  • Event History Tracking: Unlike standard CRMs, Spoonfed allows users to view a complete history of each client's events, including past menus and preferences. This is crucial for maintaining personalization in client interactions, a critical factor in client retention and satisfaction in catering.
  • Dietary Management: This feature enables caterers to record specific dietary requirements for each client. When ordering online, the customer can view all allergen and dietary details as they select their food. If an order is to be placed by a catering team member, a pop-up box will alert them to specific customer preferences/requirements. This ensures that these critical details are adhered to in every order, thereby enhancing service quality and compliance. 
  • Communication Logs: Track all interactions with a client, ensuring that any commitments or edits to orders are confirmed via email, centrally logged and accessible to all team members.

Quotes Module

Quickly generate and adjust accurate quotes for events, capturing all client requirements and changes in real time.

Key Features:

  • Automated Quote Adjustment: Spoonfed's CRM automates the recalibration of quotes based on real-time changes in client requirements or resource availability, a feature uniquely useful for caterers dealing with frequent event modifications.
  • Interactive Proposals: Clients can interact directly with their proposals, accepting, modifying, or asking questions within the system, which streamlines the approval process and reduces the turnaround time from proposal to confirmation.
  • Custom Menu Builder: Allows caterers to create and adjust menus within the quote, incorporating client feedback and preferences seamlessly. This tailored approach is often absent in general CRM systems.

Orders Module

This integral component ensures that every detail of an order is tracked and managed effectively, from initial client requests to final delivery.

Key Features:

  • Digital calendar: Quickly view orders and their status alongside quotes. Simply click to view and edit as required.
  • Real-Time Order Updates: Any edits to orders are updated in real time across the system, ensuring that the production notes, delivery assignments, and front-of-house information are all synchronized. This is essential for managing last-minute changes so typical in catering events.
  • Back Office Editing of Orders: Even with a first-class customer ordering portal, there will be times when orders are placed by the team in the back office. Spoonfed manages this comprehensively, eg. If an order or edit conflicts with a time when the kitchen is closed or if the maximum number of orders have been taken for a particular time slot, the staff member will be alerted.
  • Integrated Inventory and Menu Management: Directly linked with order management, this feature helps prevent overbooking and ingredient shortages, which is crucial for managing multiple events simultaneously.
  • Multiple Service Time Slots - automatic Production Notes and Banquet Event Order forms bring clarity and allow the team to plan across day conferences and events.
  • Automated Workflow Scheduling: Spoonfed's CRM automates task assignments based on new and updated orders, ensuring each team member knows their responsibilities without manual intervention.


Implementing a catering CRM is not just a customer management upgrade; it's a strategic decision that can redefine how a catering business operates and engages with its clients. 

With the right CRM, caterers can manage multiple and complex B2B hospitality and event catering order requirements. Customize services to meet specific client needs and ensure seamless communication across all departments. 

The benefits are clear: improved efficiency, enhanced customer satisfaction, and increased profitability. 

For any catering business looking to thrive in a competitive market, a dedicated catering CRM like Spoonfed provides the essential tools to elevate every aspect of service delivery and client management.

See how Spoonfed will work in your catering business with a one-to-one software demonstration here ->