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Commercial caterers 'favour online procurement'

10 | 05 | 13

An increasing number of catering companies are using the internet to purchase their kitchen equipment, according to new research.

A survey of 450 operators from across the food, beverage and hospitality sectors by supply chain and procurement expert iTradeNetwork found that convenience is the main reason businesses have turned to online shopping.

The benefits of using ecommerce are much the same for catering firms as they are for the public - giving them the ability to buy goods at any time and in any location.

Alex Walters, European sales director of the iTradeNetwork, said: "Online ordering means operators can place their orders at a time convenient to them, which is a key point in an industry where working unsociable hours is commonplace".

He added this means that when businesses do need to speak to catering equipment suppliers, they can do so in a more effective manner, such as discussing new products and promotions.

The survey also highlighted a growing appetite among catering operators that have never shopped online to give the process a go, with 58 per cent claiming they would consider it if it was offered to them.

Other advantages of internet procurement that were highlighted by the study are increased levels of control over the transaction and extra information.

While more than three-quarters of respondents said they rated their online systems as ‘good’ or 'very good’, there is still room for improvement, as operators would like to see more product details and also exclusive promotional deals.

The internet has had a big impact on many aspects of modern life and the catering and food service industries are no exception.

A recent study by Livebookings, which was reported by the British Hospitality Association, found that a large amount of restaurant bookings are now made online and a third of these are through a mobile device.

However, only 39 per cent of restaurants currently optimise their website for mobile and just 71 per cent take internet bookings, meaning they could be missing out on a significant amount of custom.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801583825-ADNFCR

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