Catering managers reveal their biggest demons

Chefs at work

Catering, hotel and hospitality managers have revealed their top three cost control issues in an independent poll commissioned by eProcurement technology specialist Caternet.

Managers were asked to cite which top three actions would improve their cost control most.  More than half of managers said more accurate inventory and stock control to reduce wastage (the biggest drain on profit) would greatly improve their cost control.

This was closely followed by a further 45% who admit they would like to be in a more powerful position to negotiate better rates with their suppliers.

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More than a third said that overspending without approval was the biggest problem, suggesting a need for allocated spending allowances that can’t be overridden without consent.

Almost one third of catering and hospitality managers admit that being able to compare live supplier prices nationwide would help them to purchase goods more competitively. 28% believe it is the role of fit-for-purpose technology to help keep them on the straight and narrow with their budgets and cost control.  Only 5% could confidently say that nothing could help them to control their costs better, leaving a resounding 95% with a host of cost control demons.

Jerry Brand, managing director at Caternet, commented: “It’s interesting to see that regardless of how far we have come in this industry, we still seem to make the same old mistakes time and again. Food wastage alone is at an all-time high right now, the fact is, businesses must learn from this. We know that cash is king in this sector so we have to come down hard on waste management, price hikes and stock control if we are to claw back lost revenue.”

The survey also discovered that 23% of the industry believes that poor cost control stems from too much time spent on admin and paperwork as opposed to putting greater focus on budgets and costs.

Brand added: “Supplier negotiation is another key area where the hospitality industry can shave costs and regain control of spend.  Far too many people worry about price comparisons when the silent killer for margin through higher costs is price creep.”

Brand said the future for eProcurement is to have suppliers participate in managing their agreed products and prices with each business.

“That way, the business is protected from price creep and margin reduction, the industry uses the quality suppliers they want, the customer pays the right price and their loyalty grows – but the catering and hospitality industry needs access to the right information to boost powers of negotiation; that is where the right technology can help.”

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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