Back to School!

by Martin Boyd

enter image description here

Spoonfed have been heading back to School! Not sitting in on lectures or sweating over essay deadlines (thankfully) but meeting with Catering Managers in universities and colleges as they gear up for things to be busy again after the summer.

Pre-Covid, these face to face meetings with Catering Managers could be an eye-opener. There was always a warm welcome from these good people but never, ever try and find their office unless you have a fully trained guide. It’s usually, at the end of a series of corridors in a building which, I can only assume, has been devised in a collaboration between the architect and the Department of Archaeology with a keen interest in the labyrinths of ancient Greece. And when you arrive, you are often faced with the smallest of offices with the busiest of desks.

And all this is the hub of successful catering across the campuses!

Perhaps this is why when we are presented with the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits that Spoonfed can deliver and say ‘Come with us’, these teams are choosing to onboard our software. We believe we are giving them the potential to be much more than their surroundings suggest.

Are there key factors to the catering managers making this decision? Lots - too many to lay out here. Their environment is pressurised with high expectations to deliver an exceptional culinary experience and to do so with small teams and inadequate systems full of unnecessary admin. The long and the short of it is they want life to be easier - for everyone.

However, it’s the angles they come from which are worth considering...

Getting it right for the Customer

Being able to give a platform to their customers which reflects the quality of what they are offering is so important. Amy Dugan, of University of Indianapolis spoke of what Spoonfed brought to their operation:

“...confidence that our catering site is on par with our catering program…confident and proud to send the site link to our clients. We have enhanced our offering for clients and have had 100% positive feedback on the system”

Those ordering food (whether meeting room catering, click & collect or planning events) can do so with confidence using a first class platform. With their own order history profile, making edits or reordering becomes simple, saves times and helps avoid mistakes. Spoonfed gives catering teams the opportunity to make their ordering platform both professional and attractive. Statistically, customers with the option to order online will do so more often and place orders with a higher value.

Getting it right for the Catering Team

All that has been said above about time saving for those placing orders can be multiplied for the catering team. Digitising every aspect of the ordering process will free up the team and give them space for creativity and increasing quality of service rather than merely ‘coping’. They certainly won’t miss the barrage of emails and phone calls in order to deal with the most basic of orders.

‘Customers can now order online.’ Okay, but let’s not be fooled into thinking that Spoonfed is a one trick pony. This is not an e-commerce platform. From automatically generated production sheets (items aggregated across orders, with customer notes included etc) through to delivery assignments, everything is covered.

Streamlining the day to day and hour to hour working practices of the catering team is key to making sure errors are avoided with staff efforts being utilized in the most effective way possible.

Getting it right for the Manager

Of course we could list all the key features of the back office modules here to impress on people what the manager might use day to day however, it’s often summed up along the lines of ‘I’ve got my Friday nights back.’

The efficiency runs end to end with Spoonfed - with fully customizable fields on the check-out page ensure every key piece of data is captured. This makes cross charging straight forward is a massive time saver and has been referred to as a ‘game changer’ on more than one occasion. But there is so much more:

“My job is to oversee Hospitality on both campuses. I love the fact that I can log into both sites and see what is happening on each site. The front Dashboard is a very useful ‘live’ feature which shows me exactly what customers have placed orders so I can forward plan and it gives me some idea of our sales history.” Thelma Dumelow, Hospitality Supervisor, Chichester University

Getting it right as you look ahead...

As noted, adding an e-commerce aspect to your ordering process may not be all that it is cracked up to be and may in fact be a dead end in some regards. Spoonfed’s most recent developments have centred around innovations for tapping into new opportunities and avoiding cul de sacs when it comes to growing the catering offer.

For instance being able to have multiple ‘order flows’ (eg typical meeting room catering / Click & Collect / alternative branding / internal vendors etc) managed from one back office is an exciting development which caterers have been keen to hear more about. After the pain of closures and restrictions this is a time for widening the vision as much as possible.

“Now we have gone to external users as well, so we are capturing a wider audience.” Kim Dowle, Catering Service Manager, Swansea University, Wales

‘Come with us.’ The experience of our Implementation Team partnered with our Responsive Support Team means that you are not simply buying a system. We are committed to your success and are really proud of the feedback we receive from Spoonfed users. You also join us on our exciting development road map - as we enhance and add features you will be able to benefit from these too.

“The customer support from Spoonfed is fantastic and they are always on hand to help. We are over the moon with the system.” Kim Dowle, Catering Service Manager, Swansea University, Wales

Speak with one of the team and organize a demo. Find out if Spoonfed is for you.

Share this post