The coming weeks are potentially the most profitable of the year for the hospitality industry. With many businesses still battling the pandemic aftershocks of staff, supply and cashflow shortages, alongside additional legislation around allergens and nutritional labelling, what is the best way to ensure that you have a robust process in place to take you through the festive period and into 2022?
Natasha’s Law is now in operation and with further legislation coming next year for providing nutritional information on menus, there is increasing pressure on the hospitality industry to be more transparent about the food that is being served. Customers want to know that operators have procedures in place to ensure that it is safe for them to eat what is being served, and that they are fully aware of everything that any given dish may contain.
However, recruitment into the industry is dwindling, staff retention levels are dropping and we are seeing ‘Help Wanted’ signs outside venues and all over social media. There is a staffing crisis and manpower is at a premium. Not only that, but with the supply shortage, operators are being forced to make last minute changes to menus, swapping products or suppliers which could put those with allergies at additional risk, if there isn’t a robust process in place.
How can technology help?
From supplier to operator to customer, there must be a single source of the truth. The simplest way to do this is for each part of the supply chain to tell the same story. An automated process will do exactly that. Technology will allow allergen and nutritional information for each product to be provided at source, by the supplier, and then pulled through automatically to each sub recipe, recipe, and menu in which that product is used.
With staff levels dwindling and recipes having to change to adapt to product availability from suppliers, an automated system not only improves accuracy and minimises risk, but also saves admin time and provides transparency to customers, giving them the control to filter and select dishes with confidence.
Digital menus are simple to set up but are also a powerful tool for communicating live allergen, nutrition, and pricing information – a single source of truth from supplier to operator to service teams all the way through to the customer. With staff resources stretched to capacity, mobile ordering and payments save valuable time. The ability to quickly update, amend, remove, and add items, saves on printing costs, but also allows operators to be agile in their offering – this is imperative whilst the supply chain is compromised. Any changes, from product to sub recipe to recipe, will be instantly updated on embedded website menus and digital menus in venue.
Transparency for everyone
Over Christmas, many businesses are likely to have a number of short term staff members, plus new menus for existing team members to become familiar with. Getting everyone up to speed on the menu, the individual dishes and the allergens contained in each, could be a challenge, particularly at such a busy time. Kitchen CUT’s technology uses industry recognised food databases to publish each product’s nutritional data and build out its nutritional and allergen profile. The data is consolidated into the widely recognised traffic light system as well as configurable tables depending on where you are in the world.
The nutrition and allergen information is then pulled through into spec sheets and digital menus, so that even the newest members of staff will be able to see at a glance what the dish contains and will be able to answer customer questions. Guests can easily filter out dishes according to their allergies and dietary needs.
At a time when customers are demanding more and more information about the food that they’re ordering, giving them the confidence and reassurance that you take their dietary needs seriously and responsibly makes absolute sense as well as ensuring legal compliance.