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Bah Humbug?

by Martin Boyd

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At the end of 2020 have you reached the point when you think, “Maybe that old curmudgeon Ebeneezer Scrooge had a point.”

He saw the spectacle of Christmas with all it’s hope and expectation and he couldn’t think of it as anything other than froth and nonsense. All the bright lights and tinsel were just blinding people to the fact that celebrating was a sham. Christmas was ‘Humbug’.

Of course (spoiler alert), Scrooge had to be taken behind the scenes to see what was actually true, and worthy, and valuable. Maybe something for us to learn here...

This year, it wouldn’t be a surprise if many in the Hospitality sector said, ‘Bah Humbug’ to any who might begin to talk about green shoots or even profitability.

In fact, even amongst those whose glasses are permanently half full, are there any really saying, “Yes, by (insert any date next year), we'll be back up and running as before”. That sort of comment would be met with a reasonable amount of skepticism if not scorn.

So where might the success and ‘wins’ be in 2021 for delivered catering?

One answer might be to follow the path of Scrooge and go behind the scenes. Agreed, it might be hard to see where the revenue drive is going to come from but shining a light on practices, processes and even attitudes which need attending to, allows a decluttering which can bring savings at a crucial time.

On the one hand Spoonfed have been working alongside those pivoting into a new position as they meet the challenges of a new type of customer base with Covid secure expectations. But, significantly, we have also looked behind the scenes with catering businesses who have realised that the real hope for them in the short term is in addressing inefficiencies in their delivered catering process.

For these businesses the reality may well be the continuation of a lower number of actual orders. The opportunity and challenge for them might be in three other areas:

  • reduce admin - using a comprehensive software that genuinely reduces staff time/costs dealing with unnecessary admin on orders.

  • reduce waste and plan better - possible with automated detailed kitchen prep sheets and reports.

  • avoid mistakes - an automated end to end process eradicates the errors often seen in moving the order info from one system to another. On top of that, if the customer can’t edit their orders placed online or there is lack of confidence in a placed order this leads to calls and emails which can often fall between the cracks in the order process.

'Bah Humbug' doesn’t need to be the outlook whenever there is talk of moving forward with hope of profitability and success. However, refusing to be taken out of your comfort zone in examining your current operation could leave you without much Christmas cheer.


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