The Huge Impact of Data in Catering

January 19, 2024

A colleague has pointed out a mistake in the article I have had published in Sandwich & Food To Go News this month. In the third paragraph, concerning Brexit, I wrongly predicted that by the time the magazine was printed and sent out, some kind of progress would have been made. Well, not much has changed and rather than risk more political predictions, I think it’s easier to just change the subject.

A recent report from CheckIt and UKHospitality looks at how companies in the hospitality industry can future-proof themselves, getting some great insights from leading professionals. The white paper looks at ways that caterers can stay in control, whatever the macroeconomic environment brings.

Capitalizing on Data

One of the key areas mentioned in which businesses can prepare for the future is the use of data. Information that is collected, processed and interpreted can give valuable insights into ways that new efficiencies can be found and profitability increased. The shift to digital systems across the industry puts a wealth of information within reach that make it easier than ever to make good business decisions.

Before snarky comparisons are made to Brexit here (the importance of having all the facts to hand before committing to change), let’s look at the numbers. The white paper cites a report from Forrester on the subject:

“By 2020, insights-driven companies will grow by 27%, and startups will grow by 40%, the report states. “By harnessing digital insights, these companies are able to optimize their products, services, and operations to better serve the customer.”

Caterers that are still not using the information that could easily be right at their fingertips will find themselves falling behind fast in the near future. The levels of growth predicted mean that insight-driven companies will certainly be expanding into the markets of competitors.

Small players can benefit too

So, do the numbers mean that caterers’ success will grow in accordance with their capacity to store, analyse and interpret data? No, of course not. It’s only the final stage - acting on the insights data brings - that can really make a caterer successful. The information learned needs to help businesses provide customers with the service that they want.

That customers are simply after the best service available is clear from the success of independent bookshops, which have expanded in both of the last two years after 20 years of decline and competition from huge chains. The same requirement for a great buyer experience is true of catering as well, although the need for technology in the day-to-day running of things is more necessary in hospitality than bookselling.

And the information age isn’t just about the big names scraping in as much personal information as possible. Yes, Just Eat will have learned a huge amount from their 100,000ish restaurant partners worldwide, but the small players benefit from technology in the same way. A one-person independent caterer can now track menu performance and customer behaviour, learning what they can do to improve the quality of their service and reduce waste.

We’re happy to be a part of this change that puts technology in the hands of the small players as well as the large. We hear from Spoonfed users that our system’s catering reports are a huge time-saver and provide actionable insights. If you’d like to know more about the software, open a chat at the bottom right of the page - we’d love to show what Spoonfed can do.