Guest blog post by Brittany McDaniel of Caterease.
The catering business is known to be chaotic. There are a lot of different job roles and moving parts to pull off a successful event. If one area fails, it can be very easy for everything to get out of control. In such a technological day and age, a business does not survive by running every aspect of their business manually.
For those who have hesitations or are not fully aware of the importance that automation can bring to your catering business, it will be well worth reading these insights into the outcomes that automation can bring.
Automation Saves Time
Processes like staff scheduling, creating proposals, managing venues and tracking inventory can take up a large amount of a caterer’s day. Many old-fashioned caterers can get stuck in a funk when it comes to doing these processes manually, and they lose focus on concentrating on what’s important: the customer and growing their business. It can be extremely hard for some caterers to trust some of these processes and technology. They may feel they have been doing these processes the same way for years, learning a new technological system may be overwhelming, and they can’t see the immediate benefits of how much time it will save them.
Automation Reduces Error
Whether it’s a spelling mistake, eyeballing ingredients, or even putting the wrong dollar amount on an invoice, we have all done it by using manual processes. When it comes to tedious tasks, humans are not perfect, and they will make mistakes. In the catering industry, there are a lot of tedious tasks that caterers must do to be successful. When you combine tedious tasks with a high-stress environment like catering an event, mistakes are bound to happen with human error. Human errors can add up and cost you money and reputation. On average, human error within the hospitality industry can cost around $30 per order and $9,000 every month. That number is probably even higher for the catering industry, because large orders are normal for catering events.
Automation Increases Business
When you have a software program or other technological automation process, things like quick data entry and dynamic email correspondence become the new normal. Catering businesses can send out more proposals than ever, and they are able to harvest those leads better than ever before. CRMs or other forms of management software allow for a centralized location for all your clients to be stored, including any communication that happens. Back in the day, businesses would hit a plateau or lose out on business when they were not able to handle the volume of customers by using things like just spreadsheets or notepads alongside phone and email communication. Automation allows for the catering businesses to grow in a healthy way while increasing customer volume.
Automation Reduces Costs
Many old-fashioned caterers are under the misconception that automation programs or software can cost a huge amount of money and the time needed to implement is just not feasible. That can be true for some programs. A good automation program requires good research, and different platforms will work for different catering businesses. Additionally, automation programs should be looked at as an investment. If it’s on the higher end of your budget but really fits your business, then don’t be afraid to spend the money. Most automation programs come with training as well, and once you get through the training period, you will start to see the cost savings for your catering business. Running a successful business is usually a marathon and not a sprint.
Automation Betters the Customer Experience
Automation helps both sides of the equation when it comes to the catering industry. It’s giving caterers not just more insight into their customers, but it’s also allowing caterers to concentrate more on improving client interactions. Automation software allows catering businesses to track and store information about their clients to be used at any time in the future. Say a caterer has a first-time client wanting their business to cater their Fourth of July event. Then the client decides to have the same event next year. They were really impressed by the food they had at the initial event. With automation software, the caterer can pull up the previous year’s menu in just a few simple clicks. Could you imagine the headache if that was only stored in a file somewhere and the client asked what was in the dessert? You would have to either put the client on hold or call them back. It’s the little things that can add up to having an optimal customer experience.
Automating your catering business can take many forms, from marketing and accounting to staffing. If you’re new to the automation process, don’t get overwhelmed. Start with weak areas within your business. Take the time to learn what automation can do, and your business will thank you for it in the future.
Brittany McDaniel is the Digital Marketing Manager at Caterease. She writes on various topics within the catering and event management industry and helps manage the overall web presence of Caterease. Caterease is a leading provider of catering and event planning software serving over 50,000 users worldwide. Find Caterease online by going to www.caterease.com.