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Rupert Lynch has recently joined the Procurement team at Pelican and is tapping into his previous roles as a chef and school catering head to support Pelican clients.

The combination of staff shortages and supply chain challenges continues to stress all catering team members. Many operators are now looking for ways to improve efficiency – which is where the Pelican team can step in.

Use technology

If clients are experiencing staff shortages, there are some simple ways to mitigate this impact. The use of technology will streamline and automate mundane administration processes. For example, how long does it take for your team to place orders with all your suppliers? One of the ways to drive efficiency is to use a system for pre-ordering.

Pelican’s Pi ordering module allows the catering team more control over what products can be bought. Plus, it saves time by placing orders with multiple suppliers with just one order from one website!

Other ways of saving staff time are biometric till systems (especially effective in schools) that remove the need for staff to operate payment systems manually. And, if the tills are connected with an e-procurement system, then even more time and operational efficiencies are achieved.

Source pre-made products

Another solution when you suffer from staff shortage is to buy ready-made grab-and-go packaged foods and sandwiches. Caterers can also purchase pre-cut meat or vegetables such as carrot batons or peeled potatoes. Yes, there is a cost implication, but these products reduce the need for labour, so the time saved on resources will generate savings.

Pelican can carry out a benchmarking exercise for clients to establish the exact savings/cost incurred by product changes to help you make informed decisions beforehand!

Amend menus

It’s also worth amending and developing recipes around the team’s skillset, making the most of their experience. 

Catering teams can also find ways of doubling up, with some operators combining the vegan and vegetarian options so that one dish meets both needs. 

With education clients, we can help consolidate their menus to reduce options and balance them across a week. A simple change will help reduce costs without impacting nutrition. For example, switching to chicken thighs rather than breast meat or changing the mix will often make no difference to a recipe. 

If you need support to mitigate your staff or supply chain challenges, please get
in touch with your Pelican account manager, call 01252 705214 or email

We are here to help you.

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