How technology is transforming catering operations

In the past decade, the rise in digital processes has swept through the catering and hospitality industry, with apps such as those enabling consumers to order food and book meals online being a driving force. Technology such as our CaterCloud system has also helped chefs keep up with new changes, such as the increase in plant-based diets and new allergen legislation such as Natasha’s Law, at a time when compliance and food safety is more important than ever.

There are growing concerns for hospitality operators with regards to cost, compliance, and allergen risks, therefore the need for technology to help reduce human error and administration has increased. Caterers are extremely busy and there are plenty of technology partners around to help transform catering operations, however utilising multiple different systems for each task can be costly, complex, and time consuming, which is why many are looking for a ‘complete’ system to fulfil all their needs to help drive efficiency and save costs.

QR codes have been utilised much more frequently in the past couple of years, especially on menus, making it much easier for customers to drill down to see the nutritional and allergen information in each meal before dining, which is important in allowing allergen sufferers to make an informed decision on whether it is an allergen safe food service.

Cloud technology in catering operations can benefit many industries, such as care homes and schools. Pre-ordering systems in schools allow chefs to understand a child’s allergy without relying on the student remembering to relay the information, which hugely reduces risk and human error and allows parents and children to have better visibility of their food choices. Cloud-based systems can also help to calculate nutritional intake for care home residents when creating online menus. Care residents often need specialist nutrition and increased calorie intake via food fortification, so utilising software to help track nutritional intake in recipes and menus makes catering for specialist diets much easier.

Profit margins are of huge importance in all catering establishments, none more so than contract catering, therefore keeping an eye on waste, recipe costs, and forecasting through technology can benefit them greatly. Adopting technology in catering operations, such as forecasting and stock control software, allows for more cost control and less waste which is a huge concern in the food industry with regards to the current climate crisis.

e-f group provide the latest technology systems to help with various elements of catering operations. Clients use the Freshmarkets purchasing platform to purchase food and non-food items through our network of local, regional, and national suppliers, so they can buy the exact ingredients that are needed at site level from a local supplier where possible and in the smallest pack size available which reduces food miles and waste. Users are also able to track costs across multiple items and sites, and the custom business intelligence (BI) reporting within the system has forecasting features which helps manage stock and again reduce food waste. The data that clients can access is in real-time such as costing or forecasting data, so reports are extracted accurately on any device to help drive efficiency further.

Not only that, but our free menu management system CaterCloud has been created with the busy caterer in mind helping to drive efficiency and compliance. The leading-edge recipe, allergen, and costing features are used by our clients to ensure caterers can keep track of and accurately communicate allergens within their recipes, as well as ensuring they remain on budget when planning menus for their customers to maximise profits. This all-in-one system resolves those pain points mentioned earlier that hospitality operators are experiencing – cost, compliance, and allergen risks.

All the above e-f group software is available at no cost to the client and reduces admin time, saving money whilst streamlining their processes. We ensure food waste and miles are kept low, at a time when environmental impact is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, so our clients can focus on what matters.

Looking at upcoming developments in the catering industry, cobots (or collaborative robots) have been developed using AI to automatically perform production related tasks, work safely together with humans, and help standardise and speed up certain functions in the kitchen. When widely available, this will make it possible to have technological assistance in catering operations such as robotic garnishing lines, automated washing up and sorting of cutlery, and could even help with monitoring and reporting on kitchen safety.

Want to transform your catering operations? CaterCloud is the leading integrated solution for allergen, nutrition, menu planning and cost management and it’s FREE TO USE. Sign up for a demo here or email us for further information:

Published on January 11th, 2022

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