Like everybody in the food and drink business, caterers are looking for ways to grow and provide their customers with the best experience possible in a competitive and challenging environment. Technology is underutilised by some caterers but can help immensely.
The emergence of mobile and online ordering in particular can help caterers take orders and plan more easily than ever. Enabling clients to place orders on their mobile phone or through a webpage eases the administrative cost involved with taking and processing orders, improves the accuracy of the order process and aids with stock control and operational planning.
We wanted to pick out two specific types of caterer that we believe can be particularly helped by pre-ordering technology.
1) Corporate in-house caterers using technology to drive employee productivity and satisfaction
Many businesses outsource food to contract caterers, which enables them to focus on their core business functions. Corporate caterers engage with employees every day and have an impact on both their productivity and employee experience.
Happy employees = productive companies
Enabling employees to take a break and come back to work refreshed, is a win-win for employees and companies, particularly when that break takes place at work. Everyone knows that happy employees are productive and the numbers back it up.
A recent study by the University of East Anglia, using data from Glassdoor has revealed a strong link between a satisfied workforce and the financial performance of UK companies. The results reveal that firms rated higher by their current employees in terms of satisfaction achieve superior profitability compared to those rated lower. Management is therefore naturally focused on strategies to address employee engagement and retention.
Overall company culture is a crucial part of what makes employees stay and what employees eat and have access to eat cannot be neglected as part of a successful employee engagement program.
Save time in line
For the best of these on-premise corporate caterers, technology will be a central part of how they interact with their clients’ employees. One of those technologies, digital ordering, will truly enhance the corporate customer ordering experience. Offering consumers access to food and drink from a canteen or cafe without having to leave the workplace is a great benefit to a busy worker, but being able to order and collect that food and drink without standing in line adds another level of convenience. Employees save time and are more productive, while still being able to take an effective break and obtain nutritious food. It’s a win-win situation.
Read our earlier blog for examples of how we’re already helping corporate caterers beat catering challenges by providing superior in-house services.
2) Technology-driven caterers enhancing the conference and exhibition experience
Catering busy conferences and exhibitions is hard work. During a busy show, there’s little time to leave a vendor booth, seek out and stand in line for food or drink. Many conference exhibitors will go without proper refreshment all day. Ordering from a mobile phone enables them to order and potentially receive refreshments without leaving their booth.
For caterers, this means better visibility into order demand, increased sales and higher satisfaction as people who might not otherwise leave their stands to eat or drink, purchase food. This is exactly why our client ExCeL London introduced mobile and online ordering for exhibitors last year at its venue. With over four million visitors coming to the centre each year, a convenient and streamlined service was essential.
Dining en masse
Mass catering for a conference on the other hand and trying to meet all dietary requirements of attendees at once often means that at the end of the day there is significant waste when one of the options isn’t favoured. If attendees are able to choose from options ahead of time, on the go, this enables caterers to much more easily plan the quantities and types of food needed on the day, streamlining admin and reducing waste.
Event, conference and fine dining venue, The Brewery in London, is using data gathered by the Preoday platform to gauge the popularity of new, limited edition or seasonal items. This has allowed it to try out new products before committing them to menus permanently. Beyond menu and stock management, Preoday has had a marked impact on productivity at The Brewery; the time saved has been the equivalent to the input by two staff members under the old system.
These are just a few ways that technology can help make the lives of event organisers and corporate caterers easier. There are of course many more, but ultimately, one thing is sure – technology is driving change and the best organisations will embrace these new technologies to improve the customer experience. Those who don’t may find themselves being left behind.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.