SaaS - the clue is in the name! When we do a sales pitch with Spoonfed we don’t hold back on telling potential customers how much our customer service is appreciated. We’re convinced that customer service is not a little bonus or a nice touch if possible? Don’t be fooled into that sort of thinking.
It may seem slightly jarring to bring ‘tech solutions’ into the conversation about traditional Thanksgiving meals, with family and friends eating together. However, it was moving away from the traditional into the innovative which brought a much welcomed silver lining at that stage...and 2021 will be no different.
Some silver linings are easier to pick out than others…the interest from catering teams in Universities and Colleges across UK, Ireland and USA is certainly one which stands out for us at the moment. It’s been incredibly encouraging for us all...but what has led them to our door?
The issue of staff shortages was something which had been raised as a concern during the Brexit debates. There seems no doubt that the reality of these concerns have now been exacerbated by the pandemic with reports of 9 out of 10 contract caterers facing shortages this year.
In the last 18 months many caterers have taken hefty blows to their businesses. Many have only survived because they were able and willing to innovate in order to reach their (new?) customer base. But what is next? It’s great to see the excitement on social media as events start up again, staff come back from furlough and customers arrive to be wined and dined. Will your business go back to what it knew best? Why not have both? Having your cake and eating is possible - with the right tools!
Are there key factors to the catering managers choosing Spoonfed? Lots - too many to lay out here. Their environment is pressurised with high expectations to deliver an exceptional culinary experience and to do all that with small teams and inadequate systems full of unnecessary admin. The long and the short of it is they want life to be easier - for everyone!
Smaller catering teams, menu management issues, continuation of Covid secure service, changed workforce deployment, increased individualism in ordering and an expectation of a first rate user experience - all of these have become pressure points in the last 12 months. And each could be reasons for nervousness, depression and even defeatism. But we began determined to be confident and we certainly can be. But it needs to be credible confidence, not just confident for the sake of it. And it can be, with the knowledge that reading the signs and onboarding the correct tools, restaurants and caterers can begin to thrive again.
Maybe I've just always been a ‘cup half full’ person but working with a growing team and acting now to be ready for things growing again is where I want to be...what about you? We’re not pretending it isn’t hard, but we’re not giving in either and are keen to talk with those who aren't just wishing, hoping and thinking about better days but are preparing for them.
A recent Spectator article referred to this future of the office as ‘a theatre of work, where you’ll be on the receiving end of a massive hit of social interaction and corporate effort to make the best of you’. Are we really going back to the same corporate catering experience as before? To wait and see may not be an option - the truth is that where there is flexibility to adapt there will be a pay off.
Someone once said the only lessons from history are that we don’t pay attention to the lessons from history. Well, maybe, but we can all do a simple thing like looking back and realising that we can do much better than before. By all means, give yourself a hard time for having been so slow to have seen what was staring you in the face for so long...and then move on, there’s work to be done…
We can have a think about why the word *‘community’* is often used in the context of coworking spaces, we can consider the ideology behind these spaces and we can look at the future flexibility for the workforce - but if someone doesn’t order lunch what’s the point anymore??
There’s not been much to smile about recently - even those whose businesses have been on the ‘winning side’ during the pandemic have done so in a climate of anxiety and uncertainty. What about the Hospitality sector? After the struggles of recent months do you think we will go back to our tried and trusted ways?
For the caterer (especially in days of online ordering, but also looking ahead to things returning to face to face gatherings) making sure that your clientele know you take their vegan needs - temporary or otherwise - seriously is vital. The demand for vegan menu options means some caterers will be overlooked if they don’t step up properly.
2020 Vision or just 2020 Hindsight! What about 2021 Vision? What's your view of the months to come? Can you see something in your mind’s eye you want to bring to fruition. Do you have a view of what you believe can be achieved and have the imagination to set about working towards that goal. January is always a good time to take stock and to see how things can be improved
Which is your favorite? If this is a question about a holiday destination, or an ice cream flavour, you’ll happily get involved. However, if it’s about your kids the question is best avoided - especially if it’s being asked by one of them! With so many options now online in the marketplace how can your business be the ‘golden child’ and avoid being the overlooked, ‘demanding’, ‘tricky’ one?
It was Rob Parsons who used the phrase ‘Don’t settle for being money rich – time poor’ What is striking is that having a moment to stop and reflect on things this year is allowing people to consider how they can stop throwing their time down the drain. Many businesses are time poor because what begun as a ‘put up with it’ became a ‘that’s just how we do it’ solidified into an accepted ‘process’.
2020 has been the year of Zoom and Team meetings and across the globe we have heard this year’s most used phrase: ‘estas en silencio’, ‘ти німий’ and of course ‘tu es muet’. What else have these virtual meetings taught us about ourselves and how we might view catering in the future?
So many in the hospitality sector have needed a helping hand - they couldn’t stand up without depending on others in a whole host of different ways. Everyone will have their own story about contracts being re-worked, suppliers being understanding, customers being prepared to adapt. ‘Self sufficiency’ was not part of this story - solidarity, empathy and patience were the foundations for pushing through the challenges.
Did you know that more and more families now order in their Thanksgiving meal – about 25%. If the new tradition is for people to use restaurants and caterers to help them with their Thanksgiving meal it makes sense for catering managers to have a new tradition too. It’s time to make sure that your customers can find your menus online and be able to plan their meals.
We got some exciting news recently from The Caterer that Spoonfed has been shortlisted for a Product Excellence Award (PEA) in the technology category. The PEAs recognise excellence and innovation in food, drink and equipment products within the hospitality sector
Allergens are becoming an increasingly important part of catering. Being able to show clearly which menus contain certain ingredients, and to guarantee that they won’t sneak into an order
We recently read a great article on The Caterer website, written by Peter Ducker, Chief Executive at the Institute of Hospitality. The article details the importance of businesses ‘working smarter, not harder’
On Friday we received some superb news; we have been nominated for two awards at the Scottish Business Awards, with this year’s event being hosted by none other than George Clooney!Spoonfed has been