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.

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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.

Time and manual labour

Catering software solutions automate many tasks, from inventory processes to employee and job scheduling. You could automatically notify employees as soon as jobs are updated, and allow data visibility across your operations. This not only saves you from manual inputs, unnecessary paperwork, and tedious updates; it could improve accuracy.

Once you’ve entered the relevant data once, you can use the catering platform to generate reports, create proposals, and crunch the numbers as necessary.

Costs

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.

Profit margins

Using catering software to track costs and financials could lead to higher profit margins. Because you have a better idea of the true cost of each order (ingredients, labour, rental equipment, and so on), you’re in a better position to generate more accurate and profitable quotes. In addition, you could create menus that yield higher margins, as you’ll have data-driven information to guide your decisions.

Communication

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.

Mobility

Some catering solutions include mobile capabilities, allowing you to manage your business from anywhere. These solutions support the work of your mobile staff, such as staff working across sites and your delivery personnel. With all the job and scheduling data at your fingertips, you and your team will be able to do more – from anywhere and while they’re on the move.

Customer experience

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.

Data

Having a catering platform means you effortlessly store and track business data at a granular level.

For daily operations, the customer and order history data is easily accessible to any staff member. In addition, you can use this detailed information to generate customised reports and get the insights you need. This can lead to smarter decision-making and improved customer service along with enabling things like personalised marketing.

Also, if your platform integrates with your accounting, marketing and online payment platforms of choice, you can further save on data inputting and generate more detailed reports.

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.

catering software

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What are the catering software solutions offered by FoodStorm?

FoodStorm offers catering software solutions for different types of catering operations.

Retail chain catering

FoodStorm’s retail chain catering software can be used by chains with 10 stores to those with 1,000 sites or more.

A key feature of retail chain platforms is automated ordering. Whether you’re a supermarket, cafe, restaurant, or some other type of chain with catering operations, our system can minimise time spent on administrative tasks, maximise accuracy, and give your customers a superb ordering experience every time.

Mobile-enabled systems drive higher sales and offer convenience for customers. With FoodStorm’s system, your customers can order from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

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.

Retail Chain Catering

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On-site catering

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.

On-site Catering

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Event catering

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.

Event catering

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Corporate catering

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.

Corporate catering

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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 tracking and communication

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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.

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Payment processing

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.

Payment processing

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CRM software

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.

CRM software

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Production reporting

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.

Production reporting

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Integration

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.

Integration

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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.

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Talk with us today about a FoodStorm CRM solution for your business

Great information makes great businesses – so talk with our expert team today about getting a CRM solution that will put your team in-the-know and help you deliver better results. Simply enter your details below and one of our staff will call you soon.

For more information, contact Miranda Super at CaterXpress on +613 9935 2718, or miranda@caterexpress.com
www.foodstorm.com