With venues trading under different rules and head office administrators working remotely, how did one hotel group stop costs spiralling and become future ready?
The business challenge
With varied trading locations across the North comprising country house hotels, inns, and individual, award-winning restaurants, the business of kitchen spend management and financial control of chef brigades is daunting. A team of administrators work overnight to clear down delivery notes, match purchase orders and ensure specialist ingredients are in stock the next day. Many micro suppliers cannot offer credit lines, so need to be reconciled and paid within 24 hours.
The path to balancing venue budgets includes a system of voicemails, often from busy chefs and kitchen managers in noisy environments. Producing events such as weddings and corporate entertainment creates an additional layer of complexity—especially when key purchase holders are out of the business and spreadsheets are saved in various locations.
When COVID-19 appeared, stock management of perishable goods became even more critical as any wastage risk is met with unpredictable lockdowns. Furloughed employees leave behind a skeleton staff, so an easy-to-teach automated platform that links assets in real-time is required as soon as possible.
Throughout the estate, all ordering and internal transfers are entered into Caternet before 8pm. They are accepted into centralised head-office approval within one hour. For suppliers, Caternet is entirely free to trade (no hidden percentages) so local producers without an EDI set-up simply receive an automated email and are paid correctly.
The Finance Department now saves 25 hours a week as a direct result of using Caternet. By moving to a paperless, cloud-based procurement platform, the business has already uncovered a persistent overcharge from a wholesaler which has more than covered the cost of the software. This is before they’ve begun to save time and money through the roll-out of Caternet’s Recipe Builder module, which includes an approved buying list and live prices.
The hotel group is now set up for a future with organisational spend overview; to make faster catering decisions, and to serve their diners in compliance with Natasha’s Law.