Business Challenge: Expanding Your Catering Business

In catering and hospitality, expansion and growth can be both the journey and the destination. You may already have a growth target you’re trying to reach as an end goal, or you may have just organically outgrown your current business model and are having to expand.

However, it’s a double-edged sword: expansion can also lead to a reduction of control over your business. So that’s why we’re here to help you explore the key issues, including:

  • What’s at risk when you’re expanding?
  • How software can help your specific pain points during expansion

What’s at risk when you’re Expanding Your Catering Business?

Let’s look at the aspects that can get away from you when your business is growing:



Standards Getting bigger invariably involves taking on new resources: more people, more suppliers, bigger yields, more units or sites. You’re going from running a small, tight ship, to suddenly being at the helm of an ocean liner!

Managers can be spread thinly as the transition from big to small happens – that crucial time when operations reach a tipping point for the current staff and you need to take on more staff to handle everything.

This is when standards can slip – on everything from food quality to customer service and allergen management , and lost customers or a ruined reputation can be hard to recover.

Time Expansion isn’t just about size: it can suck up your time, making you lose control of how long things are taking to evolve and what that time is costing you, both financially and operationally.
Accuracy Accuracy is the key to efficiency – and inefficiency means wasted money. Whether it’s reconciling delivery notes with purchase orders and invoices, or even forecasting the correct food order to minimise wastage, the wasted pennies can soon mount up to pounds if you’re not careful.
Data Keeping track of your records becomes much more complicated as your operation grows. The challenge is multi-pronged: from more data users to more suppliers and more geographical sites. At some point, your Excel spreadsheet may become unwieldy and collapse under the weight.
Consistency When your company grows, how can you make sure it maintains consistency’ From food to products and branding, it probably grew because these things were working well for your business. Can you ensure that those aspects continue to maintain their integrity on a larger scale?
Costs Expanding means taking on more overheads: increased staff, rent for your new units, and bigger food orders from your suppliers. Can you keep track of all these new costs – and more importantly, manage them effectively in real time?
Sustainability With great size comes great responsibility – both financially and environmentally. Environmentally, many a company has let its green credentials slide during expansion, because of the sheer logistics and planning involved. And financial sustainability is the basic lifeblood of your business: can you see how much you are spending and making, in real time’ Is it enough to keep you in the black?

To regain control over these areas requires the introduction of processes and systems – which is where Saffron comes in!

How can software help with expansion problems?

Your pain point

What’s the problem?

How software can help

Data Often businesses begin with Excel, and as soon as you expand, the data becomes too big. You may also need to start accessing your data from a number of users and locations in real time. The way you record data and how you access it may need to change. It really depends on the scale of your operation, but our complete Saffron solution can handle all your back office processes, from storing your recipes to managing your allergens, and even nutritionally analysing all your food at both stock and menu level. It can also be used for purchasing from suppliers, providing at-a-glance finance information and running reports on everything from trading periods, suppliers and selling prices, to budget performance and stock management. Whatever data burden you have, Saffron can probably handle it for you.
Staff You’ve spent time and money building your business’s reputation – now you have to train up new staff to maintain and protect that reputation. Use the Document Management module to make sure crucial communications are cascaded to staff in all your units and locations – so everybody knows what to do.
Currency If you’re expanding abroad, it’s not just a foreign market and new suppliers, but a foreign currency you’ll be dealing with too. Use the Finance module to deal in different currencies and still reconcile the total international picture, or drill down and view by unit and location.
Budget/costs How do you account for your non-food overheads like rent and business rates, cleaning, set-up costs and labour journals for new staff? Balance everything by using the Finance module, which can take cost inputs for considerations such as weekly labour, salaries, cleaning, sickness, overtime, disposables, card costs, laundry, equipment hire, marketing, rents, rates and much more.
Supply chain New locations may mean new suppliers, so you could now have multiple suppliers – which means multiple purchase orders, invoices and delivery notes. If you use the Purchasing module, you can communicate orders to your various suppliers. You can manage stock at different locations with our handheld barcode reader too. This saves on the risk of manual errors on invoicing and delivery notes.


What next?

Are you on the cusp of expanding and need software to handle the extra burden? Our team has many years of experience helping businesses in exactly your situation.

To see how we can help your catering business expand efficiently, give us a call on +44 (0)114 281 6060 or complete our contact form.

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