Uncovering Hidden Opportunities for Growth

Neil Shayle
Contract catering
Cost control

Explore how the contract catering industry can find new opportunities for growth and efficiency through digital technology and automation. Learn about the advantages of P2P technology, better supplier management, and tools like Caternet. This blog explains how these innovations can help reduce costs, improve staff productivity, and enhance job satisfaction, ensuring long-term success in the competitive catering industry.

The catering industry is constantly evolving, driven largely by changing customer preferences, market trends, and the need for more efficient operations. Digitisation and the automation of previously admin-heavy processes has been a catalyst over recent years for reshaping the way the foodservice sector operates day to day. Yet in this fast-paced industry, finding opportunities for growth and efficiency is key to long term survival and while many focus their effort on marketing strategies and menu development (which certainly has its place), P2P (procure to pay) technology is still an area that is overlooked in relation to unlocking profitability and potential for growth.

Interestingly, the barriers around technology adoption have been around for years and although we have certainly made headway in the sector, people still need to make the connection between technology, cost savings and growth. Of course, it has been well documented that soaring costs continue to be an ongoing battle for many, yet in a recent survey by UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association, Hospitality Ulster and the British Institute of Innkeeping, over 70% of hospitality venues said they plan to invest in refurbs despite rising costs, which suggests that the industry places high value on investing in the business environment even against a backdrop of challenges. Likewise, technology is an investment that many cannot afford to avoid if they are to stay ahead of the game.

One of the biggest challenges for the catering sector amongst others, is managing multiple suppliers. With so many different vendors to work with, it can be difficult to keep track of orders, prices, and delivery schedules. This can result in missed opportunities for cost savings and efficiency. Platforms like Caternet can help businesses widen their supplier network and consolidate their suppliers, negotiate better prices, and track orders more effectively. Caternet also automates manual tasks, such as reordering inventory and processing invoices, saving time and valuable resource.

Another common issue many have faced is the sheer volume of admin intensive processes. Many in the sector still rely on paper-based systems or spreadsheets to track orders and inventory, which usually leads to errors, delays, and inefficiencies that will ultimately impact the bottom line. Thanks to purposeful catering management technology like Caternet, people’s roles within the contract catering sector are evolving to become more impactful, removing the traditional emphasis on mundane tasks and freeing up more time for creativity and innovation, both of which are key to growth and long-term success. By implementing fit for purpose technology, catering businesses can unlock hidden opportunities for growth, streamline their purchasing processes, while improving visibility around cost control and reducing the likelihood over spending.

Perhaps one of the biggest hidden areas for growth and opportunity is around staff happiness and productivity. With this in mind, it is important to recognise that job satisfaction and retention is intrinsically linked to work environment. Lack of resource and over-stretched teams usually make for unhappy employees. Used in the right way, catering management technology not only boosts efficiency it empowers people at the coal face to excel in the jobs they love. After all, how many chefs went into the profession so they could spend their days stuck at a computer managing stock control, keeping on top of regulatory compliance or battling reams of recipe admin?

When we speak to our customers, we know that one of the most valuable insights they gain from using Caternet is greater visibility around spending patterns and trends, helping them make more informed decisions about their purchasing strategies. By analysing data on supplier performance, product costs, and order volumes, our customers can identify areas for improvement more easily to ensure they optimise growth and profitability.

By investing in the right tools and systems, catering teams can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and drive profitability. So, if you're looking to lift the lid on hidden opportunities for growth, technology is certainly a good place to start. The benefit of cloud-based platforms like Caternet, is there is no upfront capital expenditure either.