The right tech tools can help team members communicate to ensure successful events
By Rick Farrell, president of PlantTours
Running a successful catering business requires you to keep multiple moving parts in place and running smoothly. You need to plan carefully for each event, keep an open communication channel with the event’s host, ensure the food you provide is of the best quality and meets your customer’s requests, and make certain that all of your employees are where they need to be at the right times.
Since catering events can be fast-paced and demanding, it’s important for you to have the right communication tools in place. Without good communication tools, things can quickly go awry. Here are some tools to consider to make your next event as successful as possible.
1. Project Management Software
There are a variety of useful project management apps that can help you monitor the productivity of your catering staff. They are free to use and allow you to set up tasks that can easily be checked off as they are completed by individual staff members on their mobile devices. These tools can help you make sure nothing is forgotten and each detail is accounted for.
If you see that a team member has not completed an important task, you can quickly talk to that person to ensure it’s taken care of immediately or assign it to someone else.
2. Two-Way Radios
Providing your catering staff with two-way radios can allow for fast and easy communication no matter where they are. Two-way radios allow servers to instantly communicate with the kitchen staff and vice versa. At a busy event, two-way radios can help catering staff quickly take care of the needs of different customers. The kitchen staff can let servers know when they are running low on different items so that the servers can suggest other options to their customers. Each member of your catering staff can quickly communicate with any other members of the team at the push of a button.
In addition to hand-held devices, there are two-way, hands-free radios that operate through headsets. These can be a great idea for catering staff who need to quickly walk and talk at the same time to ensure the events you cater go off without a hitch. Catering businesses should consider two-way radios with multiple-channel functionality to avoid crossed communication. You’ll also want to select radios with enough wattage to ensure communications can reach other staff anywhere inside of a facility.
3. Mobile Messaging Apps
Sometimes it seems like a new messaging platform comes out every day. Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Spaces are just a few of the best apps that help keep your teams connected. They allow you to create groups, assign tasks and seamlessly collaborate to ensure each job gets done. Group members can share images, videos, articles and links.
This allows multiple people to engage in free-flowing discussions, and you can easily look through past conversations. Most apps have a quick search feature to find specific topics or conversations you would like to review, or you can view the group’s entire chat at a specific moment. Communicating this way helps involve the entire catering team in planning an upcoming event.
When your catering business has multiple events, you can have the teams who will be working on each event create separate conversation threads. You can then direct the conversations and planning occurring in each group.
Mobile messaging apps allow multiple people to engage in free-flowing discussions, and you can easily look through past conversations. Most apps have a quick search feature to find specific topics or conversations you would like to review.
4. Time-Tracking Systems
If you hire catering staff to work as independent contractors for specific events, you know how challenging it can be to track their hours. With a cloud-based time-tracking system, workers can enter their hours worked directly into the app in real-time. You can also generate invoices and track the hours worked by each employee, helping to make payroll and the preparation of 1099s at the end of the tax year easier for your company.
Meet Customer Needs Quickly
Strong communication tools can simplify the planning and monitoring of every event your company caters. You can use these tools to ensure the needs of your customers are met quickly. Implementing the right communication tools when catering events can make the workflow more efficient and prevent problems that could otherwise arise. When you have strong communication, your events will run like a well-oiled machine and customers will take notice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rick Farrell, president of PlantTours, is North America’s foremost expert in improving manufacturing group communication, education, training and group hospitality processes. He has over 40 years of group hospitality experience, most recently serving as president of PlantTours for the last 18 years. He has provided consulting services with the majority of Fortune 500 industrial corporations, improving group communication dynamics of all types in manufacturing environments. For more information, visit plant-tours.com.