Choosing the Best Catering Software in 2024: What You Need to Succeed

Industry Insights

Adriana Desmond

JAN 08, 2024


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Choosing the Best Catering Software in 2024: What You Need to Succeed

In B2B corporate catering, staying ahead of the competition requires more than just a good catering menu – efficient operational, order, and relationship management is equally crucial. In 2024, the catering landscape is evolving, and with it comes a surge in technological solutions designed to make the jobs of catering managers and teams easier and increase revenue.

The catering industry is growing at a rapid rate, with both workplace and event catering making a rebound after the pandemic. These numbers are expected to continue to trend upward, with a US market CAGR of 7.7% (Grand View Research). 

Despite this growth, many operators still face frustrations and issues with poor operator experience, poor customer experience, and a lack of guest data and ownership of their margins. While third-party marketplaces offer great exposure, they lack what restaurants need to take ownership of their guests' loyalty and grow relationships. Not only that, but 5%(+) of catering revenue is lost to 3rd party commissions, and 100% of customer data is gone with limited engagement solutions.

From your online menu to the last mile of delivery, pairing your catering business with innovative tech is the key to growing sales revenue and winning corporate clients. 

In this article, we will delve into the key players in catering software, explore the latest advancements, and offer valuable insights into choosing the best tools to streamline your catering business.

(Table Source: Grand View Research)

Tech as the Solution:

Catering operations and sales managers grapple with numerous challenges in their day-to-day activities. From complex sales processes to maintaining seamless order management, the demands of the catering industry are diverse and dynamic. The need for real-time data, effective sales strategies, and impeccable order management has never been more pressing. 

In recent years, the growth of catering software has been remarkable, with solutions emerging to address specific pain points and enhance overall operational efficiency. From automating inventory management to optimizing customer relationship management, technology is proving to be the secret ingredient for success in catering.

Topics to be Explored:

This article will be your guide to navigating the vast landscape of catering software, focusing on key areas such as:

  1. Catering Marketplaces 

  2. Sales Tools

  3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  4. Order Management Software

  5. Direct Online Ordering Channel

  6. Last-Mile Delivery

  7. Delivery Dispatching

Choosing the Right Vendor:

The abundance of catering software options can be overwhelming. To aid you in this crucial decision-making process, the article will provide insightful tips on evaluating vendors. From assessing user-friendliness and scalability to examining customer support and integration capabilities, we'll guide you through the essential criteria for selecting the best catering software for your unique needs.

As we embark on this journey through the evolving landscape of catering technology, prepare to discover how the right software can not only alleviate common pain points but also serve as a catalyst for growth in your catering business. Stay tuned for a comprehensive exploration of the best catering software in 2024, and equip yourself with the tools needed to thrive in the competitive and ever-changing world of catering.

Catering Marketplaces: What Are They and Why You Need Them

Marketplace platforms for catering are not much different than delivery and takeout ordering platforms such as Doordash, Ubereats, and Postmates. The major difference is that catering marketplaces allow guests to place catering orders rather than singular orders. Marketplaces are a great way to expose your brand to a new customer base, sell to new markets, and acquire net new customers. In addition, many marketplaces offer order management solutions and integrations with delivery services, making dispatching orders easy. 

Marketplaces do charge a fee per order, typically around 30%, so they’re best used as a marketing tool rather than your main ordering channel. To maximize profits, use these platforms to advertise your business to a new customer base and invest in a direct catering ordering channel to grow loyal guests and decrease fees. 

Best Catering Marketplace Platforms:

Catering marketplaces are an excellent way to expose your business to a new customer base, but don’t let them be the primary driver behind your incoming traffic. To really grow catering and establish long-lasting relationships, investing in direct ordering channels to complement your marketplace will create a formula for growth and loyalty. 

Putting the right selling and marketing strategies, as well as partnering with the right vendors, will help you hack growth. 

Sales Tools: Creating an Efficient Selling Process 

Catering sales is a machine that needs to be kept well-oiled and constantly in motion. Sales efforts need to happen at scale, in real-time, leveraging data, and relationships constantly maintained. Using tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and having robust reporting is paramount to winning and retaining customers. 

For enterprise restaurants looking to do catering at scale, it’s often a smart option to outsource your sales efforts to an external company that will be dedicated to making calls and answering messages. Similarly, it’s important to ensure your catering channels have features that aid the selling process, like house accounts and call centers. 

Lunchbox Catering

Lunchbox Catering offers great sales management features like house accounts, a Marketing CRM and email marketing platform that syncs with catering data in real-time, and robust reporting on companies, contacts, and sales metrics. 

Think of your Marketing CRM as an automated extension of your team that can send personalized messages to guests with minimal effort on your part. Partners like Lunchbox equip restaurants with out-of-the-box automated marketing email campaigns using data-driven triggers that message guests after completing certain behaviors like completing an order or achieving milestones and can be triggered based on when the last time the guest placed an order or if they’ve fallen out of their typical buying schedule. 

Businesses that use CRM software experience, on average, a 41% increase in revenue per salesperson (Salesforce, 2022). Effectively measure and act on your catering data in real-time using this enterprise-grade solution. 

New Catering Connections

Offering a fully outsourced selling solution to help enterprise restaurants scale their catering efforts, New Catering Connections provides services in the form of strategic targeting, custom messaging, and effective sequencing through their 7-step communication plan. Handling all sales efforts for you, they are an excellent team of catering experts who can help take your catering business to the next level. 

Catering Order Management Software: How to Organize and Drive Efficiency in Your Catering Operations

Having the right order management software in catering can take you out of outdated spreadsheets, manual prep sheets, and disorganized order dispatching. With a well-developed catering technology behind your online and phone-in catering orders, managing catering orders at scale becomes a breeze. 

Lunchbox Catering: 

With this catering software, restaurants are equipped with not only a fully-branded direct and online catering channel, but they are also supported with a full call center, automated prep sheets, order editing and dispatching technology, delivery integrations, white-glove delivery partners, and sophisticated B2B corporate catering management features

A few of the most popular features include:

  • Catering dispatch to location

  • Quotes with links

  • Editable orders

  • Production sheet

  • House accounts

  • Customizable menus

Designed to streamline the order fulfillment process and provide catering managers with productive features like editable orders, automated and customizable prep sheets, and account management tools, Lunchbox Catering is the key to growing B2B catering sales. 

To learn more strategies on how to win corporate catering business in 2024, read the article “Food at Work is Back: How to Win Corporate Catering Business.”

Direct Online Catering Channel: How Restaurants Own Guest Data and Grow Sales

With a direct ordering channel, restaurants are able to fully own the guest experience end to end as well as owning valuable purchase data and behaviors. Restaurants with a branded online ordering system see an average increase of 25% in order value (Upserve, 2022).

The best online ordering channels provide guests with a customizable and buildable menu, branded UI, personalized ordering, and flexible payment options. Ultimately, your online ordering channel for catering should be built with your in-house catering team and end user in mind. 

Lunchbox Catering offers the most modern and flexible online ordering and menu-building solution for digital catering. Easy to set up and fully branded, restaurants can feel confident putting their best foot forward with their native online ordering channel. 

The menu is smartly built for any group size, with modifiers, options to add notes, and intuitively laid menu sections. In addition, with each order placed, guest data is funneled back to the Marketing CRM and reporting dashboard in real-time, giving catering teams full visibility and the opportunity to act on data and communicate with guests in a timely manner. 

Delivering the Best Guest Experience: Why Delivery Matters in Corporate Catering

Last-mile delivery is one of the top areas enterprise restaurants are concerned with regarding catering operations in 2023. 

It's equally important to customers. According to a 2022 Deloitte survey, 52% of consumers now expect same-day or next-day delivery.  Meeting consumers' heightened expectations while maintaining the quality and integrity of the product is the key to winning repeat business.

The last leg of the delivery journey is crucial. It's the difference between serving warm muffins or room-temperature pastries, crisp salads or wilted greens. The timeliness, presentation, and quality of delivery service will leave a lasting impression on your catering guests, so it is imperative you get it right. 

Investing in delivery dispatching and last-mile delivery partners for your catering business can help with: 

  • Better Route Optimization

  • Enhanced Monitoring and Visibility

  • Increasing Delivery Productivity and Scalability

  • Positive Guest Experiences 

Choosing a solution that aligns with your specific pain points is essential. Features to look for include real-time tracking, third-party integrations, ease of use, and customer service capabilities. Lunchbox Delivery Dispatch, for example, offers a centralized scheduling dashboard and API integration with many other apps, enabling a cohesive tech ecosystem for your business.

Leveraging integrations with a white-glove delivery partner like DeliverThat will ensure top service for corporate clients. This level of service is especially critical for B2B clients, who not only expect timely and accurate delivery but also demand an unobtrusive and elegant presentation, flexibility in handling last-minute changes, and the assurance of food safety and quality.

Wrapping Up:

In conclusion, as we strive to choose the best catering software in 2024, the key lies in leveraging technology that not only addresses current pain points but also acts as a catalyst for future growth. The insights provided in this article aim to guide you through this decision-making process, offering a comprehensive overview of the tools and strategies needed to thrive in the competitive catering world.

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