Using Digital Menus and Menu Management Software to Drive Efficiency and Effectiveness

In little over one month’s time, many food businesses in England will need to change the way they present their menus. This comes as part of ‘The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021’. The legislation requires food businesses in the out of home sector with more than 250 employees to display calories on the food they sell.

While some businesses are viewing this upcoming legislation as an unwelcome burden, we believe that food businesses should start looking at the incredible opportunities that come with adopting these new processes. For future-facing food businesses, integrating with menu management systems and digital menus is an incredibly positive and progressive move. Such solutions allow food operators to future-proof their business, get a head start on future legislation and add exciting new layers to their offering. 

4 ways that food businesses can use digital menus and recipe management solutions to increase operational efficiency

In the past, we’ve shared how integrating with digital menus and recipe management solutions can allow food businesses to improve customer experience or even save on costs. In this post, we will discuss how implementing such systems can drive operational efficiency. We’ll do so while referencing real-world use cases, with figures gathered by the team at Nutritics.

1. Free up time to work on higher value tasks

A hugely time-consuming task for food businesses is that of getting food information from suppliers. Businesses need to collect accurate and up-to-date nutrition information, an ongoing and often burdensome task. By integrating with dynamic digital menus, this task is completely turned on its head. With the introduction of supplier portals, the impetus is placed in the hands of the suppliers, who must input the required information in an accurate format.  

Intelligent digital menus and menu management systems free up time that would otherwise be allocated to supplier administration. This not only reduces labour costs, but it allows staff to work on higher value tasks, resulting  in considerable time and cost savings.

Our sample business allocated approximately 50 head office hours per month on following up with suppliers (at an average rate of £20 per hour) and allocated approximately one on-site hour per month at each of its 100 locations (at an average rate of £10 per hour). Through using a supplier portal within their menu management system, they saved approximately £24,000 per year in labour costs.

2. Streamline processes by publishing menus to all places at once

Following on from our last point, there is a second time-saving benefit of utilising recipe management systems in tandem with digital menus. The time spent gathering, collating and managing paperwork and recipe information, both at head office and on site, can be eliminated by automatically publishing all menus at once. This is done through the automatic dissemination of recipe information from a central menu management system to all outlets. 

Our sample business allocated approximately 30 head office hours per month to this admin task (at an average rate of £20 per hour) and allocated approximately five on-site hours per month at each of its 100 locations (at an average rate of £10 per hour). Automatically publishing menus to all locations saved our sample business approximately £67,200 per year in labour costs.

3. Reduce the time taken to gather orders from customers 

Digital menus remove a huge burden for customer-facing staff. With digital menus placed in a food outlet, customers can order directly from a digital display or mobile device without interacting with staff. Orders are gathered and sent to kitchen staff in real time. This leapfrogs one of the most time-consuming steps within the customer ordering process.  

While this data was not collated as part of our business case, there are many obvious benefits that come with streamlining customer interactions and relieving pressure on waiting/counter staff.

4. Automatically manage menu inventory and dayparting

Through integrating recipe management software and digital menus, food businesses are often digitising previously manual tasks. This includes menu inventory management and dayparting. Through utilising digital menus, menu options can be automatically updated depending on the time of day, e.g. breakfast items removed after 12pm. Items can also be automatically removed from the menu when stock runs out, without the need for manual monitoring from staff.

When an organisation moves from manual or paper-based (particularly where patient ordering is concerned), the time saved collating orders for the kitchen can be hugely significant. Our sample organisation freed up 10 site hours per month (at an average rate of £10 per hour). Across 100 locations, this equated to £120,000 per year in labour costs.

Talk to one of our digital menu and calorie labelling experts

Driving customer experience is just one of the ways in which digital menus and recipe management solutions can positively impact your business. If you would like to know more about the other benefits and use cases, reach out to one of our calorie labelling experts at Nutritics. 

During a free consultation, we can also provide advice on how best to prepare for the new calorie labelling legislation.