I was looking for the right phrase this week to sum up some discussions with a number of catering operations who are waiting for the ‘right time’ to open again and begin to offer hospitality online once more - it’s to do with getting things in the right order. A ‘Chicken and Egg’, ‘Cart before Horse’ kind of thing. I decided it’s less farmyard and more ‘card table’. Do they 'Stick or Twist'?
As lockdown started in 2020, Spoonfed started to see catering orders placed through our system drop off - well, plummet is probably the word - we also felt the pain of those who’s day to day was drop off catering around offices and campuses.
Many of these were the ‘internal’ contract caterers running hospitality across head offices and campuses and they are now facing the balancing act of when to open their doors again.
Stick or twist?’
What happens when you remove those tech solutions which told customers you were open for business? Having a ‘best in class’ ordering portal is of course, a massive win for the foodbooker - people are creatures of habit...we all have our ‘go-to’ pages. eg. Spoonfed’s Customer Profile
- gives a list of previous orders
- makes editing and re-ordering simple, quick and avoids mistakes
- stores card details or can give an ‘on account’ option
Using Spoonfed’s software gave these customers a confident ‘gap-free’ ordering experience. Menu details, allergen/dietary info etc all made clear. Particular delivery notes and special instructions can be left. Multi slot orders can be placed easily throughout the day. Efficiency for all concerned.
But what happens when this portal is closed?
Phone calls and emails to the kitchen! And so it begins... - What is available? - When is it available? (‘Oh, have I left it too late to order?’) - Can you send allergen details? - Will I get a confirmation email with this? - Can I get back to you with payment details - What’s the total price? - Hi, I'm calling to change an order I placed earlier.
A new normal!! Of course, all of the above is the scenario IF they actually do get in touch with the catering team. There are a myriad of alternatives on the high street or perhaps someone will just drop into M&S on the way to the office and pick something up.
As noted above Spoonfed are well aware of the pain of the recent months and the issues faced now in the areas of staffing and supplies. Using Spoonfed allows these challenges to be faced, using tech solutions to ease these pains:
- Minimise staff time taken up with unnecessary admin and give your customers the benefit of ordering online and receiving automated email confirmations
- Control how many orders your team can offer each hour
- Use comprehensive menu management -
- Specify for each menu what time of day it is available - and on which days!
- Lengthen the cut off times if stocks are difficult to get
- Specify menus for delivery or pick up only.
- Edit each menu to simplify current offerings or put parameters on minimum numbers
- Add stock limiters - avoid customers ordering things no longer available!
- Take some menus offline for a period of time, but allocate the same menu to any individual(s) as you feel able.
Spoonfed can manage each and every aspect of the ordering process...when we say it's time to ‘twist’ we are not asking people to take a step into the complete unknown.
Open for business
Being able to open up the kitchens, bring in staff and make a quick impact is key - as we have noted above, this can be managed well with clear parameters over a host of fields. It won’t take many orders placed manually before these same staff are juggling unnecessary admin and gaps for error are opening up.
Happily, many caterers using Spoonfed are reporting really positive figures, even matching pre-Covid. The prediction that though there may be less staff coming into offices overall, when they do their raison d’etre will be extended meetings with others and will include ordered catering, seems to have been accurate.
Get in touch with Spoonfed to ask about our re-opening options and offers.
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