"I can’t say enough about the support that we have had at Blue Link. Some people might know Darren as the resident genius, and he is a genius. He along with Monique, but he especially, has been able to look at some very specific things with us and has been able to come up with some amazing solutions"
John Valente, Co-Owner
Marigolds and Onions
Event Catering Software
Inventory & Accounting Software for Catering
Blue Link's catering software simplifies ordering, consolidates invoices, streamlines delivery and allows for custom menu configuration. This functionality is in addition to our robust inventory, accounting, and customer management. Below is a sample of our features:
Marigolds and Onions' Experience with Blue Link
"My name is John Valente, I'm with Marigolds and Onions Catering, the co-owner with Al Salomon. My responsibility here is, for the most part, operations. So here at Marigolds and Onions we are a catering operation. We have been in business for 20 years, almost 21. We are going to be 21 in June of this year. I would say, we are one of the top cateres in the city; we are extremely busy. We do 80 plus orders a day and that is in combination with events and daily orders. The business is split into 2 facets — we have the daily orders side and the events side, events being a lot more complicated and daily orders being quite simple."
Why Blue Link Catering Software?
"We felt that Blue Link was the best fit for our company because it gave us the best potential for growth. There was a lot of software out there that is equivalent to what we do right now so we felt that we needed to take something on that would take us to the next level. We felt, and we still do feel, that Blue Link is the right answer for that."
"The other great thing about Blue Link is that, in the catering business, you need to be flexible, if you are not flexible there is not a lot of business to be had, and it gives us the structure that we need and at the same time it does allows us to give our clients the flexibility so we can still create menus to satisfy their needs."
"One of the greater features that we feel has really enhanced us here at Marigolds and Onions would be the configurators. What these configurators do is they select the products for us. For example, we will have a tray of sandwiches, in the past we will have had to have chosen the bread and the fillings. What this does for us, is it will do random picks for us of the bread and the fillings and will do the same for the breakfast pastries. By doing that, it elimantes the possibility of error both by the user picking the wrong product potentially or by not picking the right number of products. With the configurators, not only does it give us the structure, I want to go back to the flexibility, we are still able to go into the configurators and make changes."
"There's another great module to Blue Link which is the allergen module. In this ever-changing world of people being allergic to and having preferences to different types of food, what it does is it allows us to control and know what allergens are in our food products. That way, if we choose a product that has an allergen in it that a particular client might be adverse to it will bring up a prompt and tell us that we cannot use this product. So that is another wonderful feature. If we have someone in the group that is vegetarian, we can increase the number of vegetarian meals within that configurator."
"The sales order review screen is a great feature — it is the hub of the business. It is accessed by our sales department, by our shippers, accounting, by myself, our sales manager, anybody that wants to see what is going on in the business from today and moving forward, that is the place to go. That is the hub of our business."
"I can't say enough about the support that we have had at Blue Link. Some people might know Darren as the resident genius; he is a genius. He, along with Monique, but he especially, has been able to look at some very specific things with us and he's been able to come up with some amazing solutions."
Overview of Catering Features
Blue Link's configurators have revolutionized the way that catering companies do business by improving the order entry process. Rather than having to edit 1000s of codes, you may only need to set up 10 configurators (essentially menu templates), which can be edited on-the-fly.
Configurators are designed to automatically choose and select products from pre-determined menus that have been setup in the system. For example if a client wants to order a tray of sandwiches, in the past each catering company would have to manually choose the bread, fillings, and sauces etc. for the tray. Now, configurators will automatically choose product at random based on specific criteria. This helps eliminate the possibility of error such as users picking the wrong product or incorrect quantities and ensures variety for repeat customers. Even though the configurators are designed to automatically choose products, users still have the ability to make any changes in order to meet the specific needs of clients – further taking advantage of the system's flexibility.
Configurators can also be customized to account for allergies and specific dietary requirements. The configurator will cross-check for the presence of these items, and ensure that they are excluded from selection.
Using configurators increases the speed of data entry, reduces errors, decreases administrative time and enables easy product management.
Previous to implementing Blue Link software and using configurators, many catering businesses were creating menus in Excel and Word. In the past sales people would have to cut and paste menus to meet their client’s needs but with Blue Link this process is streamlined. When a menu is built and a quote is given and approved, users are able to turn the quote into a sales order, which can then be turned into a production report for the kitchen – all done automatically using our catering software. Employees in the kitchen can then put together and make the product, which then gets sent to the delivery department where packing slips are automatically generated to help drivers pick and pack orders. This means that orders going out to clients are error-free.
Automatic menu generation can save a lot of time previously spent copying and pasting between Word and Excel. Menus can be automatically generated with your business logo, the event itinerary and a customer image if desired. Information from quotes & sales orders are automatically injected into menu templates to create a presentable summary of the event / order.
The menu is created based on your customer's selection that was determined using the order configurator.
"The menu [generator] has eliminated a lot of cutting and pasting. Word and Excel is a thing of the past for us right now. It’s just Blue Link, which is a great thing, and those are the two words we love to use right now: Blue Link, not Word and Excel" – John Valente, Marigolds & Onions
Menu packages can be controlled within the system (for example, a "business class luncheon package"). Rather than order entry people having to pick salads, sandwiches, and desserts etc. for these packages, all they do is use the configurator and quantify the package (the lunch is for 15 people) and then menu items can be automatically selected based on the parameters of the configurator. Furthermore, the configurator can be used to narrow down the options for order takers and create manageable packages.
Most catering companies have beverage consumption sheets and often manage these in Excel. These sheets outline what to pack for an event and determine consumption based on products returned to inventory after the event. Users can create a number of pre-determined consumption sheets, specific to an event type/beverage package.
Driver manifests can be generated to ensure delivery trucks are running productive routes and meeting delivery timelines. This will intelligently group orders by driver, with deliveries being organized such that earlier deliveries are brought to the top of the pile. All associated materials including packing slips are printed along with the driver manifests, leaving no room for error.
Revision control allows users to update quotes while maintaining a history of past revisions. Revision control is particularly useful for large catering events to keep track of menu changes.
Pick-up slips make it easy to control pick-ups of small orders. Some products are sent out on serving platters or holding trays that need to be returned. Order reports are generated that tell drivers which products have accessories that need to be picked up (pickup reports). It looks at how the order was packed (on a platter that needs to be picked up) and then automatically generates a pickup slip and report that allows for more control on items that need to be returned.
The sales order screen is the hub that connects each department in the organization. Sales people can use it to consult orders and make necessary changes, order entry employees can print reports from it as well as make changes, the shipper can allocate the driver from it (and the shipper can also filter out the next days drivers and create the driver manifest from it), the accounting department can select invoices to print or send to customers and create consolidated invoices as well.
Consolidated invoices are important in the catering industry because many caterers will do multiple events for the same client in one day (for example they may do breakfast, lunch and cocktails for one company). Each meal is a separate sales order and so at the end of the day each sales order must be consolidated so that the client only gets one invoice. Invoices can be consolidated not just for a given day but for any day, so invoices can be consolidated for multiple days.
Blue Link's catering software is a great fit for medium to high-volume caterers, providing a fully-integrated solution. From accounting to inventory, delivery route management to order entry streamlining, with Blue Link, you receive a one of a kind end-to-end catering system.
Contact Us to Learn MoreFor more information on our corporate & event catering software, call us at:
1-877-BLU-LINK or fill out our contact form.