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  • Hugo Walker

Generic ordering solutions are broken – it’s time to look at a food industry specific platform

Updated: Feb 17



Once bitten, twice shy. It should come as a surprise to no one that food companies which have tried to implement large-scale ordering solutions in the past are hesitant to give it a second chance. Remember the expense? The complication? The undelivered promises of a pot of efficiency gold at the end of the implementation rainbow?


Why would you go through all that again?


Why don’t generic ordering platforms deliver for the food industry?

You might be using your ERP’s generic ordering platform. You might be using an off-the-shelf solution. You might have built your own ordering software, probably based on a generic blueprint for what an ordering platform 'ought to look like'. Chances are that what you have ended up with has been heavily customised to suit food industry-specific needs.


Broad solutions like these have their place. No one is suggesting you should bin your ERP, which has all sorts of back office firepower your business needs. But when it comes to ordering, a generic platform can’t meet the unique ordering needs of the food-to-go (FTG) sector. Perishable product, rapidly changing demand, early order cutoffs, allergen reporting, variable customer pricing and last-minute amendments are among the challenges software needs to meet.


Yes, you can tune a generic ordering platform to accommodate the brief, but at considerable cost and complication. And as the industry – or your business – changes, those modifications may no longer be fit for purpose. Back to the drawing board you go.


What are the alternatives to generic ERP for food ordering?

Chances are you are currently using one of the following solutions to meet your food ordering needs.


ERP+

You bought into a large-scale ERP and customised it for your food ordering needs. It’s a bit clunky and there are things it will not do, but it cost a lot of money and supports a number of different business areas. As a result, operations are modified to suit what it can and can’t do. The cost and complication of upgrading the ERP is prohibitive.


Fax/phone

Yes, the technology that served the industry in the mid-1980s is still going strong in your operation. Three decades of supercharged developments in computational technology have elapsed, but your ordering software – insofar as it exists – fails to be as efficient as hiring someone to manually place and amend daily orders.



Bespoke software solution

You built an ordering system for your business. It was specced as an all-singing, all-dancing fix for your food ordering needs and the CTO flushed with pride to think of the transformational effect it would have on the business. But the debugging was never quite completed and modifications to keep up with the changing business environment have stalled, particularly since developers no longer work with the code it was written in. A number of workarounds are in place to keep it hobbling along.


Off-the-shelf software

It’s pretty, easy to use and doesn’t cost much. No wonder you decided it was a no-brainer to go with Shopify/Adobe Commerce/WooCommerce. It sounded like it could do everything you needed. Now you realise a consumer-facing eCommerce product isn’t what fits your business and your customers are starting to realise it too.


Some/all of the above

This isn’t what hybrid working means. You know how and why you got here, but how much longer can you fudge along with a Frankenstein technology solution underpinning your food ordering operation before it undermines your business?


Why the food industry needs an industry-specific ordering platform

It’s possible that you are entirely happy with one of these solutions. Everyone understands it and it works. The alternatives are too costly and there is too much that could go wrong. "Besides, we’ve always done it this way."


But the food industry is advancing just like any other. Digital transformation – the widespread adoption of technology to empower and streamline business operations – will come. Finding industry-specific solutions that anticipate your business needs and adapt to industry trends in real-time is part of the fourth industrial revolution (the one currently underway).


Many other industries are already benefiting from software built with their particular needs in mind. A glut of industry-specific software is emerging in response to dissatisfaction with the abilities of generic platforms to anticipate the unique needs of any given vertical.


An ordering platform designed specifically for the food industry can anticipate sector-specific needs and adapt as new ordering trends emerge. It should interface perfectly with your existing technology allowing business as usual to continue while customers get the benefit of a made-to-measure, branded front end that meets their needs and yours.


You can muddle along with your existing ordering system(s) so long as your competitors do the same. But if your competitors adapt, you’ll be left behind.


And if you adapt first, they will.


About Mezze – the food industry-specific ordering solution

Mezze is the B2B ordering platform specifically designed for the food manufacturing industry. It addresses the exact needs of food ordering and can be integrated to work alongside legacy technology in your business. It can be implemented in a matter of hours and customised with your brand identity. What are you waiting for?


For more information about Mezze, call +44 (0)117 457 8643 or drop a line to hello@mezze.io.