Hard times ahead in catering

by Alistair Coats

As we near the year’s end, unwelcome predictions about the state of the catering industry in 2018 make this a great time to ask... could your business be more efficient?


The Autumn/Winter 2017 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast suggests that most operators aren’t considering the effect that inflation will have on costs in the first few months of 2018. The latest USDA Food Price Outlook predicts that food prices will rise between 1 and 2 percent in the coming year.

Are caterers ready for a tough 2018?

Despite clear indications that food and drink supplier prices will continue to rise, most operators are not planning for this beyond Christmas.

For inefficient caterers, January is going to be tough. The typical seasonal lull in business is predicted to happen as usual, as well as ongoing increased discounts squeezing profit margins even further.

Quoted in Cost Sector Catering, MD of Lynx Purchasing, Rachel Dobson said, “Most of the businesses we work with have priced their Christmas menus to take higher costs into account, in the knowledge that there is usually enough trade to go round at the busiest time of year.”

“What’s more of a concern is that many of the operators we speak to aren’t giving enough thought to the challenges of the first few months of 2018, when it’s very clear that inflationary pressure is going to continue.”

Which caterers will weather the winter?

In this environment, only caterers that work efficiently and keep their costs low have good prospects for the new year. I recently tweeted an article from The Caterer that showed that while 66% of restaurant owners were optimistic about their own future for the next 12 months, only 34% were optimistic about the general business environment.

While these statistics suggest that most owners consider their business to be leaner than competitors’, it’s likely that many will have miscalculated the challenges ahead.

A system to keep caterers competitive

That makes this a great time for software like Spoonfed. Our system has proven its value to multiple types of caterer in multiple countries, helping to automate processes, avoid mistakes, monitor and predict seasonal changes in demand, and minimize waste.

The companies that can keep costs down and work efficiently are in a great position to weather the January storm, being ready to take on customers from their less prepared competitors.

If you’d like to start 2018 the way you mean to go on - as efficient and competitive as possible - then get in touch - email:

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