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Michelle Parnham, Head of Sales, shares her advice on what proactive steps catering organisations can take to help mitigate procurement challenges, including rising inflation, increasing food prices and a shortage of people.

1: Utilise online tools and technology

Online tools are now available for catering teams which streamline many manual tasks and processes, including procurement, ordering, stock control, invoice management and more.

One area that we are increasingly supporting is digital ordering in healthcare and NHS environments.

With services under strain, removing pen and paper for patient ordering is the way ahead.

We have been working with hospitals and healthcare services to provide a bedside electronic ordering solution.

Pelican’s Picnic food ordering module creates a much better experience for the patient, who can see pictures of meals on a tablet and more easily order them. It also provides a huge amount of control by the catering team, who can see orders building, remove items if stock is low, or add specials, all in real-time.

2: Efficiently adhere to the latest regulations

Any organisation serving food and drink must be aware of – and adhere to – the latest food safety regulations and allergen labelling. We are all aware of the importance of labelling and displaying relevant allergen information to assure consumers of exactly what they are buying.

While resources may be stretched, no corners can be cut; therefore, establishing a system that tracks the allergen content of all foods will save a great deal of time and ensure that nothing will be missed.

For clients we work with, all centrally agreed products will be automatically included in the
Pelican Pi system, which consists of the latest allergen data. If any new products are added, the data is updated, meaning every outlet has access to the latest source of information at any time. For operations running multiple sites, this level of consistency offers significant reassurance. Plus, all sites are buying from an approved product list containing the allergen information they need.

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Valuable partnership

There are many advantages to seeking help from an external outsourced partnership.

At Pelican, we ensure that supplier management is taken care of – with price, performance and quality regularly audited. We provide expert insights, so you can plan ahead and make changes to future purchases or menus where necessary. For example, we produce a quarterly market report, which provides intelligence on trends to be aware of – such as the impact of inflation, avian flu, seasonal lines or stock availability.

We also offer an online cloud-based platform, Pi, which covers everything from placing online orders to stock management, deliveries to invoicing and payments, budget, reporting, menu management, and allergen issues – taking care of the otherwise time-consuming tasks. All of our services and systems come at no cost or overhead to your organisation.

We, at Pelican, ultimately provide the insight and support that puts you back in control of your day job, removing administrative burdens on your team and helping your to make better-informed spending decisions, both now and in the future.


Mari Diogo, Facilities Manager at Teddington Memorial Hospital, told us that they were experiencing poor communication between the kitchen and the food service assistants – in particular, what meals were ordered by patients and what meals were actually delivered. The process of taking orders for patient meals was also very time-consuming.

They now use Picnic, which is importantly very easy to use and provides vital nutrition, calories and allergens for each meal. This means that patients with special dietary requirements can be easily catered for without worry. Paper forms have been eradicated as everything is now digital.

We are here to help

If you would like the Pelican team to identify potential savings through benchmarking any of your purchases across food and non-food categories or to book a Pi demo to see how you can remove administration – get in touch at or at 01252 705124

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