Imagine you spend around 2 hours processing each drop-off order you get.
In a typical 9 – 5 work schedule, this means you’ll only process five orders daily and a meager 20 orders per week. If you reduce that order processing time to just 30 minutes, you can process up to 16 orders a day and over 64 orders a week.
Can you see how reducing your ordering time increases catering sales and helps to generate more revenue needed to grow your business?
Most drop-off caterers (sorry, I have to call you out) still struggling to grow catering sales suffer because of this.
Because they process orders manually or use half-baked restaurant systems that make their ordering process slow and more complicated.
A stressful and time-consuming ordering process, among other challenges. And the longer it takes to process orders, the less revenue you’ll generate.
Take Kaspars Catering & Events, for instance.
Established in 1989, they offer drop-off catering services for people who want to organize corporate meetings, in-house parties, get-togethers, etc.
However, their entire ordering process was initially manual, making it tedious, disorganized, and time-consuming.
In short, processing each event’s catering order from start to finish could take up to 2 hours, according to Jessica Nguyen, Kaspars Catering Manager.
In her words:
“Answering the initial inquiry phone calls usually took us between 15-30 minutes (just typical prospect questions before they are serious).
Then, between creating a menu and proposal, working with the kitchen, inputting into our system, and finalizing payment and details, it would be about 2 collective hours per event.”
And when they thought switching to a restaurant system would make life easier, it didn’t. They still encountered problems because the system didn’t fit the kind of catering services they offer.
According to Jessica:
“We already tried the restaurant solutions, and they only let us do half the things we wanted to do online.”
So, to generate more revenue from their drop-off catering services, they knew they had to look for the kind of software capable of handling it.
And so they did.
Here’s the story of how Kaspars Catering used HoneyCart Commission-free Catering Automation Software to reduce their order processing time by 90 mins.
About Kaspars Catering & Events
Kaspars Catering & Events specializes in offering full-time catering, pickup, and delivery services.
But it may interest you to know they didn’t start as a catering & events company. In fact, they started as a restaurant back in 1989. However, it wasn’t until 2005 they shifted focus to catering & events.
And during that time, they’ve catered to renowned companies like Boeing, the University of Washington, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, and more.
However, not everyone wants to host large events that require the services of an event planner, servers, china platters, chafing dishes, rentals, and so on.
So, to provide food without the typical catering services, they launched a drop-off catering service, dubbed express catering. It’s for clients that need a quick and easy pickup or delivery solution.
Though people loved the idea of this express catering service, managing and processing catering orders was a challenge for Kaspars Catering.
Let’s take a look at some of the challenges they encountered.
The Challenge: Stress & Time-Consuming Manual Processes
Imagine you have an event coming up in a few weeks. So you decide to order food in advance. But before the actual date, you called a couple of times to make a few changes to the order.
Then when you received your food, you realized the changes you requested weren’t made to the order.
I bet you’ll be unhappy and disappointed with the poor experience the catering business provided.
As such, poor customer experience is one of the challenges associated with processing catering orders with spreadsheets or incapable restaurant systems.
First, they don’t have the functionality of taking orders weeks or months in advance. You can only order a few days ahead. So most times, you’ll end up taking orders manually when customers call to book in advance.
A problem Kaspars Catering suffered:
“One important thing that no restaurant system provided was being able to order far in advance as our clients normally do. They only let you order “day of,” or at most, you could order 7-8 (days) in advance. This caused a lot of clients to end up calling in these “future” orders, and we’d end up taking the order down manually, which defeats the purpose of “trying” to have online ordering.
Secondly, making changes to these advanced orders was a problem.
The truth is, customers calling to make changes to their orders is inevitable. But when a system doesn’t allow you to change customers’ orders, what do you do? Unfortunately, you have to make these changes manually.
Mistakes and confusion. Another problem Jessica encountered that led to an inefficient ordering process.
In her words:
“There were lots of manual changes, and we had to keep our own Excel sheet of these changes as we were not able to make changes to the order after the customer placed it.
We’d have to make a note on the printed-out receipt. And then, even with that, because customers ordered so far in advance of the actual event time, that message gets lost. This led to confusion and inefficient planning.”
What’s more, something as simple as editing customers’ orders with these restaurant systems was a problem for Kaspars Catering. More often than not, it led to back and forth with customers.
Jessica voiced her frustration:
“Other restaurant solutions did not provide the opportunity for us to edit much after customers made the order. So there was a lot of back and forth with the guest when there shouldn’t have been. In addition, if guests needed to change the date and time, all we were able to do was to make a note and notify each team member to also make a note.”
If you look at the above challenges closely, you’ll realize that using a restaurant system didn’t eliminate the need to do certain things manually.
Even worse was the time it took to set up these restaurant systems that lacked the essential features needed to handle their express catering service.
“Beside’s there being a lot more hardware (installing receipt printer, tablets for POS since they were restaurant systems, hooking them up to the internet, etc), these systems didn’t have a lot of features we needed, so a lot of time was spent trying to implement workarounds that ultimately did not work.”
All these problems made investing in catering software that will streamline operations, save more time, and help generate more revenue a no-brainer for Kaspars Catering.
And that’s what they did.
The Solution: Automated Catering Order Software
If you’ve ever tried using various software but didn’t get the results you wanted, it’s only normal to be skeptical about trying another one.
However, when you come across catering software by a prestigious organization such as the International Caterers Association (ICA), you’ll be tempted to give it a try.
Nancy, Kaspars Catering & Events Owner, was in a similar situation.
She first read about HoneyCart Catering Software on ICA’s forum. Combined with her friend already using it at Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering, it convinced her to try it out.
And the rest is history.
First of all, with HoneyCart, being able to edit catering orders, according to Jessica, was the most significant benefit for them.
In her words:
“When you’re able to go back and edit orders, it’s the biggest help for the sales team. Just to make sure everything is in order.”
Also, with restaurant systems, customers’ credit cards get charged automatically. This means you either have to prepare the food or refund the customer if you can’t.
On the other hand, HoneyCart gives you the option to review before confirming or rejecting orders. And you get an email notification to that effect. You can also hold off on charging credit cards until you are ready to.
A feature Jessica found helpful:
“Also, the email notifications are great because we can control when the actual “confirmation” email is sent out and when they actually confirm it. Previous systems just sent out these confirmations automatically before we had a chance to actually review and confirm the order.”
Furthermore, they no longer worry when customers place orders weeks, months, or even years ahead. HoneyCart makes it easy for anyone to place orders in advance.
This feature delighted Jessica:
“Now, with HoneyCart, clients can order literally for next year if they wanted to. I haven’t gotten any of those yet, but it’s nice to have that feature.”
In addition, restaurant services require on-demand delivery. As such, when customers place their orders, they expect you to be available to deliver.
However, this won’t work for drop-off catering services where you are sometimes unavailable or require a lead time to plan. So using a system that provides this feature makes it more efficient to plan and fulfill deliveries without hassles.
And that’s one of the benefits of software built with caterers in mind, as Jessica found out when they switched to HoneyCart:
“The biggest advantage of Honeycart is the ability to customize the times and hours that we are open for and to link menus to certain days! With catering, there is no standard, and HoneyCart definitely caters to our catering needs.”
In today’s digital-first world, setting up your catering business online makes it easy for people to find you through your website or social media pages. But imagine the disappointing look on their faces when they realize they have to call or email before placing orders.
They are more likely to look for a business with online ordering features because they want convenience. As such, you’ll lose customers and sales to your competitors or, worse, third-party ordering sites like ezCater.
However, combining your website or social media page with an online catering software like HoneyCart makes it easy to convert visitors or followers to customers.
The best part?
HoneyCart gives you a unique custom link to add to your website or social media pages. This way, when people click on it, it redirects them to your online catering menu where they can easily place orders without speaking with anyone.
A feature Kaspars Catering uses to great effect on their website.
When customers click on the link, it takes them straight to the HoneyCart platform to browse their online menu, place orders, add special instructions, and make payments.
All without the need to speak to anyone.
Kaspars Catering only needs to ensure their online menu is correct, set ordering dates & times, and leave the customers to do the rest.
“Now, we clear our online menu offering with the chef before we publish it. Then all we do is set our ordering dates & times in HoneyCart, customers can order what they want for the day they want it, and then we just confirm the orders as they come in. So it definitely takes a lot out of the manual sales effort for these pickups and deliveries.
The Result: Reduced Ordering Processing Time By 90 Mins
Remember Jessica mentioned how the initial customer inquiry took 15 – 30 minutes.
Well, after switching to HoneyCart, here’s what she had to say:
“Instead of having to hold the guests’ hand through the entire menu process, they can do it themselves and save us up to 30 mins for the initial inquiry time.”
Also, since customers now place orders themselves, it has eliminated the need for calling and emailing back and forth, thereby saving more time.
According to Jessica:
“Instead of having to double-check that we understood what they wanted correctly and sending menus back and forth, now we see the exact items they chose and can click a button to confirm. The old way took so much time with phone calls and email. Nice that the “inquiry and proposal” can be done all at once by the client when they place their order.”
These have reduced the time it took to complete the entire ordering process from 2 hours to 30 minutes. In other words, using HoneyCart to automate their express catering service saved them a whopping 90 minutes (1 hour 30 minutes).
As a result, they were able to process more catering orders and increase catering sales.
A transformation Jessica confirmed:
“With HoneyCart, things are more streamlined and 100% self-service, which leads us to a much quicker turn around on delivery and pickup orders.”
And how has switching to a proper catering software like HoneyCart been for their customers?
Well, according to the feedback Jessica got, she said:
“A lot of them are now saying that it’s more convenient to choose their items and the time themselves. So it’s been mostly positive.”
Conclusion: Level the Playing Field With Catering Automation
Whether you are just starting your drop-off catering service or you’ve been in business for a while, the goal is the same – to grow your business. Catering automation helps you achieve this.
By automating your catering business:
- You’ll streamline operations, process orders faster, increase catering sales and generate more revenue.
- Also, you’ll make it easy and convenient for customers to order tasty meals, thereby keeping them happy as clients and getting referrals from them.
So, you can see why smart catering businesses like Kaspars Catering & Events invest in HoneyCart to help them achieve their goals.
But is having great software to automate catering orders enough?
No, it isn’t.
You also need great customer support that can quickly solve any issues that may arise.
And that’s what Nancy, Kaspars Catering Owner got with HoneyCart’s support team.
Speaking about the support team, she said:
“Excellent. Starting up on the weekend was rough. Could have a staff member more available for start-up days but after that all great. Thank you, Omar and Andrew!!!! You guys are very knowledgeable and helpful. We appreciate it!!”
Subsequently, when asked if she’d recommend HoneyCart to other caterers, she said with a broad smile:
“Yes, Omar, Andrew, willing to make improvements and listen to our needs in catering, hands-on approach to constantly improve it and very responsive and understand what we need! Works great for caterers. Thank you!”
Want to reduce ordering time, streamline your operations, and increase catering sales like Kaspars Catering & Events, sacrificing your precious margins to third-party sites?
Then start your 14-day free trial right away.
The best part?
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