College aims at better cost-control

Clifton College has installed a new software system in a bid to reduce catering costs without impacting on quality

Bristol co-educational independent school Clifton College is working with software firm Caternet in order to improve its cost-control across campus and buy products and services more cost-effectively. The system has been designed ‘from the ground up’ and is not a trading system retro-fitted into a catering environment.

The system’s live price comparison function enables the school to monitor the competitiveness of any purchases it makes by showing direct comparisons for the same goods purchased both locally and nationally. The Caternet F&B system also includes a recipe system which supplies nutritional analysis and allergen information (in line with the new regulations coming into force this month) on products and dishes cooked.

Warren Ingham-Barrow, catering manager at Clifton College, explains: “The live price comparison system is great, at a glance you can see where you may have pricing anomalies, giving you the power to go back to the supplier and negotiate a better deal. As a catering manager I simply don’t have the luxury of time to pore over control reports and using the system from Caternet means I can detect any pricing issues straight away and we can keep on top of the new changes to EU food labelling regulations come December too.”

Like most independent schools, Clifton College is keen to use its own local suppliers, maintain good cost control and save money without impacting on quality. “The system gives me hard data and an instant comparison in real time,” says Ingham-Barrow. “Some products we buy don’t have a huge impact on the bottom line but some do: for example, I had an issue with the price of prawns and the system gave me the hard data to go back to the supplier and secure a much better deal.”

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