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Group Ordering: some watch their waist - others watch their waste.

by Martin Boyd

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The popularity of Group Ordering has grown hand in hand with the growth in online food ordering.

However, this popularity - the benefits and value Group Ordering brings - is viewed in a number of different ways by different people.

The first reason might be called ‘Frictionless’ - yet another Pandemic outcome.

Spoonfed focussed a significant amount of development time at the beginning of lockdown 1.0 enhancing the functionality of their already existing Group Ordering feature. The need for caterers and restaurants to be able to deliver to different rooms and specific desks throughout head offices and campuses became vital - the catering teams, already reduced in size, required a solution which, with a minimum of admin, would make it possible to manage online orders for those who were still at work with ‘covid-secure’ individually packed food.

This particularly efficient silver lining will still be with us when the cloud of the pandemic has lifted. The opportunity for individuals to select their own lunch, rather than to see what might be left on a shared platter, is something which will continue to be appreciated by many.

The second reason we will call, ‘It’s all about me!’

Let’s tease this one out. As we noted above, individuals are now, more than ever, expecting to be able to make their own menu selection. However, what has changed significantly is the choice they will make. Flexitarians are now living amongst us! The issue for caterers is that if you look up any web page describing flexitarianism it’s likely to have the word ‘depends’ in the first paragraph. If you are aiming for top marks in feedback as you cater for groups, life has just become that little bit harder.

Companies who, having committed to the wellbeing of their staff and customers, will want to empower them when it comes to making healthy choices. Having worked hard to increase the number of plant based menu items on offer it makes sense to present these options and to encourage healthier lifestyles.

And let’s not forget those who are trying to place an order for their teams and/or visitors at meetings and events. Second guessing who is a card-carrying vegan or casual vegetarian this week is a thankless task - Group Ordering is the solution, allowing them to send a link for individuals to make their own selection.

Now, as we hinted in the title, Group Ordering is wide ranging in the positive impact it can have on your business, so...

The third reason takes us into the area of sustainability - let’s call it, ‘Waste Not - Want Not’

For all the reasons laid out above, having the ability to pinpoint what customers are looking for will not just avoid disappointment but crucially, there is no doubt that this will avoid food wastage.

If food service operations typically throw away 4-10% of the food they purchase before it reaches a customer’s plate, due to overproduction, expiration, spoilage and trimmings, then anything we can do to challenge that makes sense.

Mark Crilly, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Guckenheimer, who led their initiative to reduce food waste, helpfully takes us to the heart of the matter:

“We wanted to learn about opportunities to improve our practices because wasted food also means wasted money,”

With ‘planet priorities’ (and ‘purse’ priorities too, it would seem) waste is a key issue which can be directly tackled by having a system which makes the basics possible, ie that the food being produced is what people are wanting to eat.

Whether valuing customers and staff, bringing efficiency for catering teams and PAs or responsible and sensible business practices, Group Ordering is covering a lot of bases - speak to one of the Spoonfed team about making this part of your catering operation.

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