Over the past few years, international foodservice organizations have been leveraging cloud-based global SaaS platforms to streamline and standardize operations across multiple regions, functions, and departments. But global SaaS platforms are not just for the biggest brand names. The very same technologies are also starting to revolutionize the way small and local food services companies do business. 

While the food services sector as a whole has been slower to embrace new technologies compared to other industries, big food chains and Quick Service Restaurants have been busy closing the gap. Today, digital technologies in the industrial food sector are supporting data analysis, enhancing decision making, and are setting the standard for product tracking. Multinational food and beverage companies are routinely leveraging global SaaS solutions to improve the customer experience, optimize operational efficiencies, recommend menu combinations based on customer data, identify the promotions that will create a market buzz, improve sales margins, and comply with a growing list of local and international regulations.   

Despite the numerous benefits associated with a cloud-based software model, smaller food services businesses tend to lag behind larger firms in their digital transformation. Digitalization remains a priority, and the pandemic has accelerated this transformation. However, the majority of local food service SMEs today employs a disjointed patchwork of stand-alone tools such as POS systems, online ordering and reservations, delivery platforms, and digital marketing. 

Though the move to quicker, more resilient and scalable cloud-based platforms has helped to streamline operations and conduct data analysis while reducing costs, many smaller enterprises still rely on time-consuming manual processes to manage their inventory, marketing, payroll, and regulatory compliance. This inhibits productivity and flexibility as well as the ability to innovate, grow and scale.  

Globally sourced, yet locally managed SaaS platforms offer a level of integration and cohesion that stand-alone apps can’t match. Furthermore, they can create greater opportunities for smaller food services businesses to overcome the size-related limitations they typically face in regards to flexibility, innovation and growth. 

There is currently a notorious gap on the market for a kitchen management system that can handle practically everything a food service business needs including allergy control, …

4 Benefits of Global SaaS for Local Food Service SMEs

Aside from the benefits offered by most SaaS tools, such as affordability, quick integration and deployment, and ease-of-use, there are several additional benefits food and beverage SMEs can get specific with global SaaS platforms:

Create Integrated, Business-Wide Efficiencies

Since global SaaS platforms are inherently built for growth and scale, they generally offer more robust tools and features affecting a larger swath of the business. There is currently a notorious gap on the market for a kitchen management system that can handle practically everything a food service business needs including allergy control, dish and menu creator, food labelling, scheduling and payroll, payment processing services, online ordering, inventory management, inventory reports, a POS, and customer loyalty programs. All of this is in addition to an extensive recipe database and a food cost calculator.  

Some of the most advanced platforms also offer a suite of predictive features for food and labour costs. Being able to predict future demand and the response to seasonal changes, allows SMEs to plan and get the right stock when they need it. This in turn reduces waste and improves efficiency.

Enhance Supply Chain Management

Global SaaS systems have the potential to offer automated supply chain management across the entire supply chain – even where it extends beyond international borders. This could give local food service companies the ability to track the movement of both product batches as well as individual products in real-time and record critical allergen information. There is also a module to directly communicate with their suppliers and distributors across the supply chain. 

Global supply chain management platforms can additionally warn food establishments about product delays or shortages and make recommendations for substitutions in food preparation. This not only improves flexibility and workflow but also empowers the food service company to turn setbacks into creative culinary solutions.

Be in the Best Position to Scale Future Operations

With global SaaS supply chain management systems in place, local foodservice SMEs can more easily expand to an international or inter-regional supplier network. They can quickly and easily find and compare the best pricing offers among approved suppliers and monitor their performance.

Global SaaS platforms can additionally better integrate with other platforms and tools to create a cohesive, feature-rich system to record, analyze and act on critical business data. Should an SME expand to different markets or locations, the company can easily add more users and features as their business grows with ease and little cost.

Unlocking Innovation 

Globally deployed SaaS platforms accrue a vast store of the anonymous market and business data that can be fed into their algorithms to enhance their services among all clients. Smaller food services companies can thus take advantage of enterprise-grade tools for greater efficiencies, automation, and insights. This not only helps them to recognize new and creative growth opportunities as they happen, but it also simultaneously frees up resources so that these opportunities can be pursued. 

In essence, global SaaS platforms are putting advanced capabilities and resources into the hands of small food services businesses. SMEs may not act in the same way as their big competitors, but this technology certainly promises to completely transform the way these smaller establishments operate and serve their customers – for the better. 

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