PSP catering software for upscale restaurants

Premium restaurants and the shrinkage problem

We’re revisiting the theme of a previous post to add examples of pricing a plate of ingredients in the premium dining market. Increasing costs are never far from the trade headlines (and a conversation we have with restaurant businesses every day). Yet recently these rises have crept into the customer experience more than ever before. It’s not only felt at the top, but it’s also appearing on the high street, with one major pubco recently announcing they will add five pence to their coffee prices, ten pence to their burger range, and remove a ‘2 for’ deal on desserts. Economies of scale are no defence.

Price pressures in upscale kitchens

A common management complaint across large chain estates is a lack of ‘true’ spending visibility within the commercial kitchen. These are easily fixed with software-backed approved buying lists for example, but what of a single-site chef-lead dining experience? As public access to upscale venues has become more democratised, so too has guests’ expectations of value. Put simply, a sizeable slice of high-end diners seek Instagram-worthy meals in theatrical surroundings —but are now as price-conscious as ever.

The scale of lower returns is brought sharply into focus when you learn a single discount website is placing 2.5 million guests at heavily discounted seats every month; and at least half of these are new customers. A quick scroll finds a deal for four courses, canapes, amuse bouche, a glass of champagne and even a kitchen tour listed at just £50 per guest. A bargain when the ‘guide price’ is £75 on food tariff alone.

Premium presentation increases overspend risk

Reputation aside, what’s the difference between a fast-casual meal and a Michelin dish? Before anything else, it’s ingredients. Chefs take enormous pride in sourcing, whether it’s an on-site field-to-fork principle or travelling into Billingsgate for 4am. Our own data shows an explosion of orders for scallops in the past decade, and at the same time we read the U.S. now ‘lands’ over 27,000 tonnes each year from their own shores. Whilst any price changes are easily tracked with daily live data, are you tracking the premium upgrades to your plates?

Software in luxury restaurants

Take our example upscale scallop main course, “Fresh Scallops with pea cream, yuzu gel and parma ham”.
The cost using high-quality ingredients: £8.41

However, there are small yet premium additional elements to this dish;
Spoon of fried quinoa grain (£1.22/100g)
Squeeze of agave syrup (£1.28/100g)
Flakes of agar agar (£18.18/100g)
Dressed with edible flowers (£37.90/100g)

Cost with these additions: £11.10 (that’s £2.69 of cost on each dish, potentially not tracked/accounted for). When you use the recipes module in Caternet’s purchase-to-pay (P2P) catering solution, you can measure consumption and cost, from the fresh scallops to the costly edible flowers.

Anywhere a purchasing decision is made; anywhere that sources, produces or sells food and beverage needs software to track spend. If deals such as the £50 example continue to take tables Monday to Thursday, diners can expect fewer a-la-carte options. Our example shows this needn’t necessarily be at the expense of a premium experience however.

What does this look like at scale? Such maths was used by American Airlines in the 1980s when they saved $40,000 a year by removing a single olive from each first-class on-board salad (a well-known, yet important example). Contact us to learn more about any of the features described in this post.

James Waldron is Content Manager at Zupa

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