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We are excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our award-winning procurement system, Pi, making work-life easier for finance, catering and operations teams since 2013.

What started as a supplier statement system has evolved into a comprehensive cloud-based suite of modules, empowering finance, procurement, and catering teams to increase budget control, productivity, and efficiency in their operations.

Looking back at Pi’s evolution over the 10 years I wanted to highlight key modules our development team designed to meet our client’s needs.

The evolution of Pi

Before Pi, we had a platform called ‘Central Billing Online’ that provided consolidated supplier invoice payments and customers access to their statements online. Recognising we can offer our clients more, the Pelican team embarked on a journey to enhance this system by adding more functionality and improving the aesthetics.

And, in 2013, Pi (Purchasing Intelligence) was born, offering our clients a more user-friendly and visually appealing experience. Over the years, we’ve continuously refined and enhanced Pi’s functionality and look and feel based on valuable client feedback. The popularity of Pi stems from its unique characteristic of being tailor-made to suit our customer’s needs, addressing their specific challenges and the ease of use!

Ten years ago, the Pi system was driven by a need to provide our clients with online visibility of the e-billing statements and supplier invoices,” says Matt Ferris, Lead Product & Release Manager and a key player in the evolution of the Pi system over the years. “Since then, the system has undergone significant growth and expansion on an annual basis, with new features and modules being added as clients identified new requirements.”

Dan Etherington, Head of E-Procurement, notes the significance of reaching a ten-year milestone in the ever-changing world of technology. He shares, “As Pi has evolved over these years, it has not only continued to stay fresh and easy to use; it remains applicable and delivers the functionality required for our clients, suppliers, and internal teams to be efficient.”

The creation of key modules

Pitstop: Beyond stock management

Pitstop, Pi’s stock management module, was created in 2014, initially serving as a platform for users to count their stock and obtain an accurate stock holding valuation.

Today, this module has evolved into a comprehensive tool that encompasses a waste management and stock accounting system. It empowers operators to record and monitor their food waste effectively.

Piranha: Revolutionising menu management  

Another significant addition in 2014 was Piranha, Pi’s menu and allergen management system. This module allows chefs to create recipes, and Pi automatically provides precise food cost calculations, detailed allergen information, and nutritional data, along with tools that make it easy for operation teams to share recipes with interested parties.

More recently, we updated our menu and allergen management system to help our customers comply with the latest allergen legislation, Natasha’s Law.

Cherry Pi: Streamlined online ordering

The following year, 2015, witnessed the birth of Cherry Pi, our consolidated online ordering module. This module proved to be a game-changer for food operators, simplifying their lives by enabling them to place orders with multiple suppliers through a single, user-friendly web portal.

The Cherry Pi module has recently undergone further enhancements based on user feedback and industry insights, improving the application’s functionality, appearance, and performance. We aim to provide clients with an exceptional supplier ordering tool that helps them reduce the time required to place supplier orders and control their spend.

Picnic: Electronic patient meal-ordering

The Picnic module, a digital meal-ordering solution, launched in 2021, designed in conjunction with several NHS hospitals. This was to ensure it precisely addresses the needs of a health service client for digital meal ordering.  

Picnic provides a smart, efficient and easy way for patients to order their mealtime food and drinks whilst receiving care in the hospital – and drives efficiencies and removes paperwork around the meal ordering process.

That’s not all! Look at the Pi system’s complete evolution to see how many new features have been added over the years!

The team behind Pi grew from 3 to 30

The Pi team works hard to ensure the system remains the best. The dedicated Pi team has experienced substantial growth, expanding from three individuals to a team of nearly 30 talented professionals. This ongoing expansion allows us to continually evolve the system and enhance it for the benefit of our clients.

Matt says, “As we look towards the future, I am thrilled by the prospect of building on the success of Pi and passionately committed to enhancing the system further. We have a talented team and are poised to realise some truly exciting plans in the years ahead. Here’s to the next decade of progress and innovation!”

Why our clients love Pi

Colette Gale, Catering Manager, Burgate School & Sixth Form Centre, shared:

“I am a chef with 34 years of experience, with 15 years in the education sector. My working life has completely transformed with Pi. This is a great digital platform that helps my school to save time and money.

Cherry Pi allows me to see all the details I need in one place – all the product codes and prices, dates when orders have been placed, dates for expected delivery and the cost of each order and so much more. I no longer need to be glued to the telephone waiting in the queue to place my orders. It’s so simple and easy with Cherry Pi.

The whole Pi systems offer so many benefits to us; having one system in place allows me to control invoices, price compliance, recipes, allergens, and stock budget.

There is no more shuffling through invoices and manual price checking – Pi does this automatically for us! Pi gives me the time to do what I was trained to do so many years ago! Thank you, Pi and the Pelican Pi team.”

Book your demo today!

Want to know more about how Pi can help transform the efficiency of managing your catering operation? Already using Pi but not interested in learning more about maximising the benefit of all its modules?

Book your free demonstration today with our friendly Pi team on 01252 705214 or

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