As anyone in the industry can attest, running a successful catering business takes more than tasty cuisine and artful presentation. You also have to get the distribution part right. No matter how exquisite your roasted rosemary beef tenderloin may be, a single tardy or botched delivery could ruin your reputation.
The challenges of meeting tight delivery schedules recently led one catering firm, Toronto-based Marigolds & Onions, to seek high-tech help. With a fleet of 10 vans delivering over 100 orders a day throughout the Greater Toronto area, the fast-growing firm had reached the point where manual planning and routing no longer made the grade. It needed to automate its transportation operations.
After exploring its options, Marigolds & Onions settled on routing and scheduling software from Dallas-based Paragon Software Systems. The company now uses Paragon's Single Depot software application, which includes street-level mapping capabilities, to generate efficient routes that meet contractual requirements. According to the company, the solution has more than delivered on its promise, helping ensure that orders are delivered on time while drastically cutting delivery labor costs, fuel expenses, and the use of third-party couriers.
"Timing is of paramount importance to our business. The food needs to be delivered within very tight delivery windows and within a short period of time after the chef has finished making it, irrespective of how many meals we are preparing that day," Marigolds & Onions owner John Valente said in a release. "If an order is late, even by five minutes, the delivery has failed because the order did not arrive within the agreed time."
And that could dampen a person's enjoyment of even the most delectable mini French macaron donuts.