An Introduction to Saffron Central

Saffron Central is our new catering software designed specifically for multi-outlet caterers operating from a Central Production Unit (CPU). It helps you to track, cost and manage your menu offering, production and delivery, with complete visibility across your entire estate.

The advantages of CPUs

Real estate in today’s retail catering can be challenging. You might have limited food production facilities, whether that’s due to size of the property or down to the property being of A1 classification – where limitations on what can be produced on site are stipulated. CPUs can help you realise improvements in costs and maintain brand standards – providing you can manage them efficiently.

How does Saffron Central work?

When you have multiple sites, order requirements can be complex – you have to manage mass production, multiple orders, deadlines, stock management, and production management. That’s why we created the only integrated central production solution providing complete visibility.

Saffron Central manages the process of Head Office creating items for ordering and enables each unit to requisition goods from the CPU. These are then centrally prepared and dispatched to the individual outlets.

Saffron Central works with its own unique functionality, Saffron Central uses a web ordering sheet via any device, to create your picking lists (ingredient list) and supplier orders based on the requisitions received from your outlets. CPUs have the flexibility to plan production based on these orders which are then prepared, packed and dispatched, where all stock movements and costs are tracked within the system.

Features and benefits of Saffron Central to overcome your CPU challenges



Financial Reporting
  • Better financial reporting across your whole estate means improved accuracy of accounting.
  • Consolidating your production plan can drive purchasing requirements at your central facility.
  • Because Saffron Central helps you create picking lists and orders from suppliers based on the requisitions received from outlets, orders can easily be collated, and production can be planned – and triggered – with greater accuracy, maximising cost efficiencies and reducing wastage. However, it’s not just one-way communication: CPU can also amend the orders based on production.
  • You can always see where everything is, for the most efficient production planning, because stock movements and costs are tracked within the system,
  • Using Saffron Central also results in reduced manhours spent on admin by both the end user and the central team – freeing up more time to really plan production in great detail.
Sales ordering
  • Saffron Sales Ordering streamlines central production operations by simplifying the CPU collation, production and processing of orders, thus enhancing the audit trail.
  • The ordering process at outlets is simplified and streamlined.
  • Multi-level, configurable pricing is enabled to deal with differences in your outlets.
  • You can configure order cut off times – so no more last-minute requests! 
Delivery and stock management
  • Your CPU is able to provide order fulfilment lead-times
  • Administration input is reduced for both your central team and the end-user at the outlet.
  • Automated production of delivery notes and transfer/movement of goods to individual outlets.
  • You have advanced management of your offer for both food (raw/prepared/part-prepared) and non-food items, making it easier to highlight new dishes and those being replaced. Information flow is smoother.
  • Because your offer is now pre-defined for your outlets, this allows for improved menu and product management.
  • Full traceability of items from ordering right through to delivery: easily find out if any of your outlets could be affected by food scares and take action to withdraw any items affected.
  • Need to see the bigger picture? Configure your view for individual, or groups, of outlets.
  • In addition, the simplified workflows mean that the audit trail is end-to-end: enabling you to easily identify and take action on inefficiencies.

Why choose Saffron and Fretwell-Downing?

We began our journey 30 years ago from a need to have visibility of costs and profit within our own hotel and catering business. Our goal is always to provide solutions that help operators improve business performance through all parts of the cost cycle. We ensure we drill down into each sector and industry we operate it so we’re always at the forefront to help you overcome your specific challenges.

Designed by caterers for caterers, Saffron is a powerful, yet easy to use, web-based

solution that keeps you informed of business performance any time, any place. Our main catering software Saffron is widely used throughout the catering industry, with clients like Professional Nursery Kitchen, Wrap It Up and Around Noon.

Ready to make your CPU and outlets more efficient and effective?

Contact us today on 0114 281 6060, email us on or fill out our contact form.

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