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People First

by Martin Boyd

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‘People First’. What does that phrase bring to mind? It’s a catch-all in many ways, and who could argue with it? (Cats and dogs perhaps?) It's the type of statement used by charities, for HR products, and in corporate culture. Marriott International for instance, have this as their mission statement:

“If we take care of our people, they will take care of our customers, and the customers will come back.”

That is certainly as relevant now as it ever was, as businesses realise that building any sort of relationship with staff has been tricky during the pandemic. Now that there is a desire to see ‘our people’ back in the office, there is a drive to make sure this is viewed as a ‘People First’ initiative.

Perhaps this explains why there has been a certain shift in responsibility when it comes to taking the lead in how hospitality and catering orders are ordered and processed in businesses. Whereas it was often the facilities manager who might drive this, this is now being championed by those concerned with ‘client experience’ in the workplace.

To return to the Marriott mantra then, we might say, getting it right for the catering team will allow them to get it right for their customers. It’s often been one or the other! However, it requires a system which gives a superb experience for those creating orders AND which has the back of house functionality to allow the catering team to thrive. ‘People First’ includes the customers and the catering team!

Let’s consider one pressing issue facing Ops Directors and catering managers post-Covid, ie. Reduced Teams. This is a real test of whether the catering team will be part of a ‘people first’ mentality.

Smaller teams - same expectations from client (naturally!!). As Spoonfed accelerated the development of the system last year it wasn’t just to deal with pains being faced at the height of the restrictions- it was to prepare for today and the pressures which catering managers are facing now. The priority is on solutions which ensure streamlined processes and time saving for managers day by day: Reducing emails/calls to the kitchen placing and editing orders, and dispensing with manual order forms...this will be pretty much impossible unless you have a FoH platform with ‘no gaps’ end to end. It must give confidence and clarity at every point in the ordering process.

Being able to micro manage online menu offerings is key when your team is smaller. What can you offer on Mondays? Can you adjust how many order slots there are throughout the day? Can you place a stock limiter on online items each day? And more!

“The Spoonfed system has allowed us to minimise wastage of food as we can plan ahead based on what has been ordered by the clients. It also ensures that we can control staffing levels too.” - Catering Manager, Chichester University

Managing invoicing and cross charging is perhaps the key area where Ops directors and managers really see the ‘game changer’ effect of Spoonfed. Now there is the extra functionality for automatic processing of invoices via SFTP each evening - a huge time saver once more. Our 'Enterprise account' solution will have many benefits for large complex accounts, eg. for larger FSM companies this development will allow a range of small and medium accounts to be managed efficiently and cut down on admin for the reduced team at these sites.

All these hassles - but still achieve more?! Being able to offer typical meeting room catering AND serving a retail Click & Collect need IS possible. Or add an online Events platform? Spoonfed allows catering teams to run more than one order flow and manage it efficiently from a single back office.

Customer First - equal!

The other side of the coin is of course, getting it right for those placing food orders. It’s now no longer acceptable to use a bolt-on to a room booking system and expect that will manage your catering process properly end to end...as noted above, the gaps will constantly undermine any quality customer experience. Giving access to an ordering platform which is simple, hassle free, and avoids extra admin for users is a must when it comes to client experience. Providing a profile for editing, reordering, providing allergen info for each order, pre-authorising cost centre no’s etc, all adds up to a digital solution which saves hours of staff time each month. Enhancing our Group Ordering feature for instance was just one more way to plug the gaps in ordering and is just one of many reasons that we are now seen as the ‘go-to’ catering solution for global FSM companies, world class Universities and many more.

Spoonfed are about people first, because catering is about people first. Whichever side of the ordering process they find themselves on.

Speak to one of our team to find out if Spoonfed is for you.


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