Your catering operation success hinges on a range of variables, often in strict time frames. Fortunately, with the emergence of world-class catering software solutions, your catering business could now access the tools to manage orders with greater efficiency than ever.
So what is catering software, and what are the benefits to look for when you’re choosing a solution?
What is catering software?
Catering software is a solution designed to make your catering operations easier to manage, from tracking customer data and orders to staff rostering and ingredient costs.
Catering software can be best understood by referring to what it does. Typically it includes automated processes, online payments and ordering, and CRM (customer relationship management) features like key customer information and sales history.
For example, within one catering software solution you may be able to action the following:
- Maintain a contact database
- Send targeted marketing communications
- Share information with team members
- View updated information in real time
- Record standing order notes
- Export to and integrate with other systems
- Obtain customer feedback
- Quote and invoice customers online
- Allow customers to pay their invoices online
- Generate detailed, customised reports
- Assist with managing internal and external costs
These tasks can often be automated to a large degree, saving your team a lot of time while improving accuracy.
Ultimately catering software lets you manage and track day-to-day operations, not only to fulfil customer orders but also to make smarter decision for your business.
What are the benefits of catering software?
Catering software provides many advantages when compared with alternatives like Excel, Office, or even the traditional pen and paper.
Designed to match the needs of the industry and completely customisable, the best catering software can improve quality, save on costs and labour, and help your business thrive.
You should consider catering software as an investment because its tracking, communication, and data benefits will likely save you money both now and over the long term. As it is designed to help you record, monitor, review, and analyse every aspect of your operations – including financial areas – finding cost savings and areas of improvement is much easier. For example, you can quickly check supplies and work out where you can save on ingredients without compromising on quality.
A catering software solution should support enhanced communication and collaboration between you and your customers.
A streamlined communication system enables your customers and staff to be notified of order updates in real time. You can send quotations and order confirmations at a click so your customers are instantly updated.
Catering software can empower customers. With features like online ordering, professional quotations and proposals, as well as easy reordering, your customers can enjoy a better experience whether they’re checking up on orders or making a payment.
In your back end, you’ll have a centralised customer database and be able to easily track details like allergies and special dietary requirements. Additionally, you’ll have less manual processes to deal with, saving your team time.
With client information like menus and costs readily available, you can generate proposals and quotes for them quickly.
Operations and management
A catering software platform could help you become more effective and efficient at managing events and fulfilling orders. With one centralised database for customer information, staff job details, scheduling and order information, every team member can access the information at any time. This centralised repository lets you generate proposals, automate invoicing, create shopping lists, assign jobs, make checklists, and track anything else you need to track.
What are the catering software solutions offered by FoodStorm?
FoodStorm offers catering software solutions for different types of catering operations.
Integrations with services like Google Maps allow your customers to find their local store with a click. Our system supports online payments with PCI compliance, ensuring the security of customers’ payment details. You can store credit card information for easy repeat orders.
Other features include automatic order allocation to stores, automatic order emails and texts to stores, and powerful production and delivery reports. We also offer integration with PoS, accounting, finance, and other systems.
FoodStorm’s on-site catering software is uniquely adapted to the needs of on-site operations. You can manage online ordering, cost centres, and approval processes for multiple sites from the central system. Configure the platform to your needs: add and remove meeting rooms, change menu items, update prices, insert photos, and update internal cost centres.
Within the same system you can even track additional elements such as meeting times so staff can clear out rooms in a timely manner, for example.
Other powerful features include branded online ordering to match the client’s intranet or your website, along with detailed by-site reporting.
FoodStorm’s event catering software is designed to address the specific challenges of private functions and major events. Our solution handles everything from quoting, ordering and invoicing to staffing and logistics. You’ll be able to assign employees to events with a simple click of the mouse. Automate shift-information emails to update staff, and avoid double booking with staff-unavailability data. Other related features include integration with Deputy for automated timesheets and rosters.
You can use our system to generate run sheets for events so you have all the information you need in one document, and you can customise your run sheets as much as required.
Our database encompasses CRM features, so you have a central repository for all customer information, including addresses and order history.
Getting paid is easy with FoodStorm’s platform. You can set deposits, track payments, and send deposit invoices. We also make it easy to assemble a professional, detailed quote so you can send out detailed catering quotes, update them, and track changes as necessary. We’ll help you custom design templates for consistency across your quotes.
FoodStorm offers world-class corporate catering software to assist you with delivering a professional online catering ordering services every time. Key features include seamless online ordering, with shopping carts customised to match your website design. Customers can input dietary requirements, delivery instructions, and save favourite orders for easy repeat ordering.
We’ll help you configure your menus to optimise sales and to support easy future updates by your team. Our corporate catering platform comes with integrated online payments with the world’s top online payment providers. With automatic emailed invoices and securely stored credit card data, you can get paid more quickly and make it easier for customers to reorder.
Our corporate catering system also generates customised reports to provide a granular view of your operations and support smarter decision-making. Finally our solution can be integrated with a range of popular accounting packages so you can easily migrate your FoodStorm invoices into your accounting system.
What are the essential features a catering software should have?
So what are the features you should look for when you’re choosing a catering software solution? Check if your chosen platform has the following features.
Online tracking and communication
Your platform should provide a centralised order database – ideally cloud based for on-the-go access – where you can easily communicate with customers and track orders. With a single system for all orders and features like calendar-based view, your staff can easily locate customer orders, manage orders, and stay updated and organised.
In addition, look for essential order management features like adding production notes and delivery instructions, and transforming quotes to orders with one click. You’ll also want to be able to apply discounts and deposits, and generate comprehensive order histories to track changes. Other desirable features include instant duplication for repeat orders and automatic email confirmation.
Online shopping cart
A complete online ordering system empowers your customers to self-serve when ordering, and it saves you and your staff wasting your precious time on the phone or processing email orders.
Going beyond the basic functionality of ecommerce sites, your online ‘shopping cart’ feature ideally handles the most demanding requirements. Look for features like customised menus, different pricing for customers, and real-time order tracking.
Customers should be able to change, track, and cancel their orders, and you should be able to invoice and have customers pay through the system. Finally, ensure it’s mobile capable and you can add your own branding.
An integrated payment-processing system can encourage customers to pay you more quickly. Look for online payments with integrations with leading payment providers to make it easier for customers to pay. Mobile optimisation, credit-card-number storage and security, and deferred payment technology offer convenience for customers and extra security and peace of mind for your business.
Additionally, automated invoices integrated with your accounting platform can further save your team manual work. Other features to look out for include customised invoice formats, deposit amount adjustment, invoice emailing, and automatic surcharges.
CRM features help you to understand your customers better and deliver a more personalised service. For example, features like key customer information, sales history, and upcoming orders give you and your team in-depth context for each customer. This could help with marketing as well as customised menus.
Other features to seek out include targeted marketing tools, customer segmentation via sales data, standing order instructions, and marketing data export and integration. Some great CRMs even have automated customer feedback tools so you can hear back from the customer after an event.
The larger or busier you are, the more data your catering business will deal with. The right production reporting features could save you hours of work and enhance accuracy. For example, you’ll want something that lets you generate catering reports and production logs and possibly split reports by areas of kitchen for detailed insights.
Other useful production features include generating packing slips and delivery run schedules. In addition to customised reports, you’ll also find it useful to be able to set up automatic reports according to your schedule. For example, these could be sent to specific email accounts or staff members.
Production reporting not only helps you manage your business; it allows you to understand exactly what’s happening and make informed decisions about your operations.
Integration with major platforms can save you a lot of time, manual work, and human error. By choosing a catering platform with integration capabilities, you can easily sync data across accounting, payments, email marketing, PoS, employee scheduling, and other systems.
This means you can do more with the same data, save your team from manual inputting the information, and have confidence it’s accurate.
Streamline your catering operations with catering software
Catering software is a powerful partner for any catering operation, and it could save you on cost and time while facilitating communication and an improved customer experience.
FoodStorm catering software is a valuable and efficient tool for any catering business aiming to increase productivity and organisation.