17 May 2017
Last year, Rainford based 2U Food took full advantage of an Access to Specialist Services grant from St Helens Chamber, providing a 35% contribution to the cost of obtaining external expert consultancy advice to improve operational efficiency and facilitate growth, through development of a bespoke IT platform.
2U Food combines corporate catering with a mobile fleet of fresh food supply trucks, operating routes for out of town locations such as industrial estates, as well as daily vending machine replenishment for shift workers. A key aspect of the 2U Food philosophy is that all sandwiches and soups etc. should be prepared in-house fresh on the day. Managing Director Paul Foster, explained: “This provides a unique selling point for us but also presents its own challenges.”
Since relocating to St Helens three years ago, 2U Food have expanded their fleet from seven to 20 food trucks and Paul realised they were quickly outgrowing their single user Excel based stock ordering and reconciliation system. Paul added: “The IT upgrade is one of the best investments I’ve ever made, it has far exceeded my expectations.”
Not only has the new system improved operational efficiency, it is replacing estimation by providing more strategic marketing intelligence, allowing the company to track how much of what is sold, where and when (including seasonal variations).
Paul said: “The implications of this are exponential. Not only does it inform our stock ordering and reduce prepared food wastage costs, it also allows us to confidently develop special offers and promotions. We are finding new uses for the data reporting capabilities all the time.”
Continued expansion following commission of the IT development project has resulted in the creation of 2 new jobs. Paul cites the reputation of St Helens Chamber as a major factor in his decision to relocate to St Helens, adding: “The personalised support we have received has been second to none, from general advice and signposting through to various expansion grants and free or subsidised staff training, it’s really made a difference.”
For more information on the Access to Specialist Services programme, please contact John Woods on 01744 742058