What to consider when streamlining your IT as a large contract catering provider
Too many systems, too little time? Or maybe, too many systems but not enough thought behind those systems? Centralizing your IT comes with perks, such as being able to make smarter business decisions and innovate at a faster pace.
The idea of a centralized IT system
As IT is moving further and further into the center of operations for food & beverage providers, the importance of designing a well thought-out ecosystem is ever increasing. Gone are the days where a Point of Sale (POS) mainly provided a cash register and basic bookkeeping reporting. A POS in 2023 is expected to be the heart of your restaurant, and the brain that connects through modern API’s with all of your other solutions such as mobile ordering, kiosks, guest management and much more.
Operating a business that uses multiple POS-systems is a large cost-driver, as your ecosystem suddenly needs to integrate to several different “hearts”. Your ability to innovate will be severely limited as the new, exciting app you want to build is bogged down in backend integration projects, providing little actual value. The data you receive will not be 1-1 comparable across your business segments, hindering effective oversight and decision making.
Many contract caterers also have on-premise solutions, making it hard to integrate and make information flow seamlessly within the digital ecosystem.
Advantages of streamlining your IT solutions
In our dialogues with companies in many various sizes and segments we hear the above-mentioned issues mentioned again and again, and there is a general trend within the industry to centralize IT-systems as it becomes unified, scalable, efficient, and creates visibility. Through the use of new, larger, cloud-based systems, you can see enormous efficiency improvements, which means that your employees can focus on the most value-creating tasks.
You can also see benefits, such as:
- Managing your operation better as you can analyze your business in detail
- Making smarter data-driven decisions as you can compare different markets more efficiently
- Streamlining operations, like doing more from the global HQ instead of focusing on each individual country
- Making major investment decisions, for example, investing in a new system and using that same system in all affiliated countries
3 steps to get started with centralizing your IT solutions
1. Choose the right supplier
The contract catering-industry adds several layers of complexity not found in the general food & beverage-sector. When looking for a partner, look for someone that has experience within your industry and who has a proven track-record integrating and working with the other key pieces in your ecosystem.
2. Look for innovativeness
We’ve seen incredibly large progress in digitizing and developing the contract catering industry in just the latest 18 months, and expect an even more rapid pace in the coming years. Therefore, find a player who is active and agile. You don’t just want to buy a system that works today from a company that doesn’t continuously follow developments and updates the system accordingly. Focus on finding an innovation partner who keeps you at the front of the race, not a legacy system just solving your current core needs.
3. Use your internal resources efficiently
Consider how much responsibility the company should take in this process. There is no right or wrong, but you must think through your decision. There’s a huge difference between buying a packaged solution or building one yourself, and you need to decide if you have the capacity and dedication to do the latter.
If you want to build it yourself, it will require a lot of internal resources, and it can be risky. It can certainly be an advantage to have everything gathered within the company. Although, focusing on building the system internally means you lose focus on your core business.
Bringing in outside help means using a company with experience from other customers like you, who have seen what works and what doesn’t. You can calculate your risk entirely differently when you buy an off-the-shelf product. It puts you as a company in a more comfortable position, and with the right supplier, you can also trust that the product will be at the forefront and continuously develop in step with the market.
Pej food service technologies
Contract catering is a narrow, niche area that requires specific skills. Our platform is not just any system – it is specifically adapted for with all its challenges. We have the necessary experience as we have made these journeys with other companies. We are an innovative and forward-looking company, so with us, you can trust that our system is continuously updated and adapted to developments in the industry.