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Risk and reward: selecting outsourced catering

There are both risks and rewards to outsourcing catering provision. In a market worth more than £100 billion a year, you can easily be overwhelmed with choice.

Risk and reward selecting outsourced catering

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A wealth of information on outsourcing is available that can help you in your decision process. Here is a look at some key processes and checks to complete to ensure your choice is a wise one.

1)      Make sure your vision is clear.

Ask yourself some key questions. How important is your catering? Have you written a policy? What is the overriding philosophy? Is it simply about feeding hungry mouths? Defining your objectives will ensure you find the caterer who is the best fit.

2)      Map the market.

Review what is available, and then hone your list down to six or seven candidates who appear to be the strongest cultural fit. Invite them into your organisation and ask them to report back on their findings; you’ll get invaluable insight into your current catering provision and a chance to see how they might work with you.

3)      Consider your options.

Select two or three from your shortlist who you think share your values and culture and could contribute to your vision.

4)      Visit a comparable site.

A reference visit will give you essential clues to how they do business. Some important things to look for include food quality, the reaction of customers at the counter, team interaction with customers, and their attitude and skills. If you’re not sure what skills they should have, this Houston Chronicle article has some advice.

You should also make a point of checking out their equipment. It may have come from food machinery auctioneers such as www.clarke-fussells.co.uk/ or it could be brand new, but in either case, you’ll want to ensure they have equipment that is suitable for your purposes.

5)      People buy from people.

The working relationship is essential. Ask yourself if you like the caterers and could work with them. The financials are important, but it is imperative you feel comfortable with them and their ability to deliver for you and your business.

As with any decision, there are important steps to follow, but your gut should play a big role. Go with the company you feel can best suit your needs and watch your catering fly.

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