Following a turbulent year of lost revenue, COVID-19 has pushed ‘reducing costs’ to the top of the agenda for contract caterers as they continue to navigate this difficult period. Never before has the industry had to scrutinise costs in the way it must right now. Add to this the impact of Brexit on the economy and the growing financial strain placed upon consumers over the last 12 months and the path forward is far from clear.
One thing that is certain though, is the need for contract caterers to reduce day to day costs significantly to stay afloat in the short to medium term. That means unlocking hidden costs, identifying areas of overspend and streamlining resources and processes to reduce admin and ensure operational efficiency. All of these aspects are worthy areas of focus, and all are time consuming to properly grasp. For caterers specifically, price has become a major deciding factor on the sourcing and purchasing of ingredients for instance; yet on the flipside, quality, environmentally sustainable, and ethically sourced ingredients remain high on the list of consumer priorities (particularly in the case of Gen Z). While it could save you money to shop around for the best prices and negotiate discounts, it is by no means a time-efficient task.
Of course, there is nothing quite like a pandemic to push caterers further towards innovation – and quickly. Many businesses in this sector have faced some difficult decisions over the last few months and budgets remain under immense pressure despite the need to remain relevant, on-trend and competitive. This is where fit for purpose e-procurement technology, as opposed to old-school purchase order systems, really does come into its own. Right now, we are helping a number of our customers to see the wood for the trees when it comes to saving time and reducing costs.
Guaranteed real-time purchasing via Caternet’s live price guide means our customers can be certain they are purchasing ingredients and other products competitively across a huge network of suppliers (including their existing suppliers), with up-to-date live pricing – a huge benefit if, like many other contract caterers, you need to secure the best quality ingredients, at the right price. Many of our customers have also been improving how they control and manage costs as well as overspend by mirroring their budgets and using their existing finance system to stay on top of budgeting. Caternet even allows you to fix specific authorised spending levels down to user, group or department and across all of your trading outlets.
This is just a fraction of the time and money saving benefits our automated software is providing to customers right now, and by digitising your procurement systems and processes you will also improve efficiency and reduce the admin paper chain at the same time.