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FOOD & DRINK O THE NEW


usinesses that innovate and stay fresh in such a tough climate will conquer, her MD Allister Richards.


chefs, exposing them to the highest levels of talent in the sector. We’re already seeing more creativity as our people are inspired by the collaborators on The Gathered Table, and this is reflected in the innovative dishes being offered through our kitchens.


Another catalyst for change has been technology. It has transformed the way we can improve customer experience, as well as analyse the trends behind the scenes to give a more targeted approach to catering. For example, we’ve found that by offering a pre order service on our app, we can reduce waiting times and reach the busiest of employees who don’t have time to wait. This also drives customer engagement and means we can advertise pop up events and discounts. Technology can also be used to minimise food waste during food prep. Through our business intelligence system, we can monitor trends and reduce the amount of food being thrown away. As technology continues to develop, we can be cleverer in our use of resources which is a huge benefit to the sector.


Lastly, the client is becoming ever more conscientious with regards to sustainability. Market research has shown that customers want to support the eco system, and caterers cannot ignore this if they want to flourish. Single-use plastic is a huge issue we all need to tackle, and contract caterers must play their part in minimising use as much as possible.


“Research has shown that customers want to support the eco system, and caterers cannot ignore this if they want to flourish.”


Gather & Gather was the first UK contract caterer to publicly announce the removal of plastic straws from its 276 catering sites. We have seen huge support with such initiatives and this theme ties into everything that we do, from sourcing local produce to selling cans instead of plastic bottles. Caterers must be innovative in their approach to keep costing down, but integrity up.


It is clear that there is more change to come, as food trends evolve, such as the rise of popularity in plant-based diets, and flexible workplaces become the norm. Contract caterers must flex their entrepreneurial spirit to retain customers but, in every challenge, there is opportunity. Those that are creative in their approach will remain competitive in a crowded market.


www.gatherandgather.com www.tomorrowsfm.com https://www.gatherandgather.com/ TOMORROW’S FM | 25


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