Hybrid doesn’t need to be Hell for Hospitality?

February 1, 2024

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A recent Linkedin article* on working practices asked the question: Is hybrid a 'hell of half measures'?

The uncertain work model is the continuing fallout from the pandemic – the corporate version of ‘long covid’ finds executives divided as they work out how to play this one, eg Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman believes hybrid work offers "the worst of both worlds".

However, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield thinks hybrid work might just win after all, but commented, “we have 10 percent of the tools we need" when discussing what will be required in the post-pandemic workplace.

‘10% of the tools we need’?! Is this true for catering managers?

The Hybrid working model has formed a new landscape for corporate catering - it’s impacting massively on those catering for offices and meeting rooms, so the question is ‘Where are the tools?’ Having come through the months of restrictions those providing hospitality are now required to find their feet again but find themselves on very uncertain ground and need solutions…

The Hybrid Hassles for the Catering Manager

  • Menu Management - what to offer, and how much to offer and when?
  • Food Waste – this follows on from the point above…already at a ridiculous level, painful for caterers and increasing costs for the customers.
  • Catering team size – staffing is already an issue before throwing into the mix the uncertainty of customer numbers.

However, the customer is always right even if they are only around for three days a week! So what are the tech solutions available for catering teams to work through the current (and future?!) working model.

Smart Menus make the difference?

It surely goes without saying that menus need to be online. The practice of customers working from menu pdfs they downloaded previously just won’t cut it any longer, and calls and emails to check on availability, possibilities or costs can only exacerbate the problem. We know ordering online is de rigueur for B2C – but can high value, more complicated ordering for B2B really work online?

Let’s be clear then - the tools for the hybrid working world are more than just placing menus online - there needs to be a powerful, dynamic aspect to how these menus display, ie as the customer enters their day/time/location they will see the corresponding menus available to them. If they are ordering with a shorter lead in time the same will apply.

The benefits of having menu availability comprehensively managed in this way (with real time editing!) are numerous and wide ranging. The most obvious aspect is being able to decided that certain menus aren’t viable on particular days or at certain times of day. Or, if they are, do these menus need a longer lead time than normal to be applied? Or perhaps they require a higher minimum order value. Or simply placing a ‘daily limit’ on certain menu items which will ‘disappear’ from availability, may be the answer.

Smart menus means smart staff management

We’ve mentioned longer lead in times for certain order times to allow for staff planning. Add to this a tech solution allowing the manager to control the maximum number of orders which can be taken within a particular time slot.


Placing a curated number of vendors on the catering MarketPlace portal has been a game-changer for many contract catering operations. The functionality of being able to offer a range of other vendors (viewing all orders from their BoH) has allowed a standard of catering to be maintained in pressing circumstances.

These are just some of the features and business use-cases being employed - Spoonfed is committed to continual development of their catering software to bring solutions which fit with the issues being faced and the opportunities becoming available to caterers today. Ask for a demo of these features and more, and discover if Spoonfed is for you.