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Don’t compromise on the quality of your residents' meals because of the constraints of budget

Alison Carter

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Your Care Home reputation could depend on the food you serve your residents.

In-house catering makes sense for your residents. How else can you accommodate individual and daily requests for ‘something I fancy’ .

My 99 year old Grandmother spent a spell in a home that had outsourced their catering. Unfortunately this meant that her request for a banana sandwich on white sliced with real butter, not synthetic spread, was not feasible. The only food she could have was what had been delivered by the caterers that day.  For days she was served ham, cheese, jam or Marmite sandwiches in wholemeal because that’s what’d been ordered. She went hungry. In the end we made them ourselves and took them in. There was no facility to flex.

Flexibility is what in-house catering gives you and yet getting cooks and kitchen operatives to understand how to budget and work to costings can be challenging.

Do you want a better choice of meals for your residents?

Do you need nutritional information at your fingertips?

Do you need to cater for different diets?

Do you need a menu management system without a big price tag?

Do you need to adhere to a fixed daily cost base per resident for food?

Do you need to comply with the food labelling law?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes – CaterCost menu costing software will help you make residents dining an enjoyable and health giving experience, profitable to your business, whilst helping you meet all the food labelling regulations now in force in the UK.


I want to provide my customers with a nutritional guide for all my  dishes without expense or effort

Ceri runs the View Restaurant, Cornwall

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Nutrition_laptop.jpg“Since the horsemeat scandal, so many of my customers are asking for nutritional info about their food. Chain restaurants are displaying this information, but it's easier for them" 

Like so many switched-on operators Ceri wants to set high standards and capture the health-conscious eating out market. She knows this will satisfy customer demand and give her the edge over her competition.

Her chef is against this but she knows he is not the customer, besides a lot of stuff on her menu is healthy and she wants to shout about it as well as comply with food labelling legislation. 

She plans  to build a “healthy section” on her menu rather than publish full calorie counts.

She can't see how she will have the time to research ingredient-by-ingredient the nutritional makeup of her menu dishes – and doesn’t want the expense of full-on dish analysis in the laboratory as her menu changes frequently.

Ceri is delighted CaterCost calculates calorific value, protein, carbs, sugars, fats, sat fats and salt in every recipe, sub recipe and dish on her menu. With a database of over 15,000 nutritionally analysed ingredients to use within the system, she also has the ability to enter her own nutritional data against products she buys. CaterCost takes the effort out of nutritional analysis and provides her with an easy way to flag dishes below a calorie threshold as well as displaying full calorific content if she chooses.


 Changes in legislation on food labelling laws came into force in the UK on December 13th 2014

EU Regulation FIR 1169/2011 covers the disclosure of 14 common allergens found in food

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Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

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By December 2014 customers must be
provided with details of any of the
14 common allergens contained in any
dish on the menu. Saying “we do not know”
will no longer be enough.


Come December, any dish on your menu containing one
or more of these allergens will need to be communicated
to your customers by staff, which is a challenge in itself,
but there must also be a backup, and printed or visual
info must be provided if customers request it.

What are the allergens?

  1. Gluten
  2. Crustaceans
  3. Molluscs
  4. Fish
  5. Peanuts
  6. Lupin
  7. Nuts (such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds etc.)
  8. Soya
  9. Eggs
  10. Milk
  11. Celery
  12. Mustard
  13. Sesame
  14. Sulphur dioxide (used as a preservative in some dried fruit)


“As if life wasn’t complicated enough! This is a management nightmare – most recipes are in chef's head and what dish specifications we have are changing so often I can’t envisage a manageable way to comply.”

This is where CaterCost will be invaluable. CaterCost helps take the headache out of managing this information by providing one single online point of up-to-date and accurate info about your menus for your outlets - a place where all staff can refer, even if chef's on holiday or gets hit by a bus. CaterCost can also provide printed reports at the click of a mouse.

CaterCost will help you by tracking allergens through all your recipes and sub-recipes to ensure nothing is missed through human error. Complying with food labeling regulations can put you ahead of the game. 


 Since using CaterCost I reckon every dish specification I now create takes me less than a minute! 

Tim Munroe, Head Chef at the Kitchen Larder, Dorset

What’s your challenge?

Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

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Tim has been struggling to find the time to deliver the dish specifications his boss asks for. Something always seems to crop up –  staff shortages and unanticipated high volumes of trade leave him too harassed to prep for the next day without the added hassle of costing up new menu dishes.

He knows too that when he’s not there some of the other chefs do things differently which has led to customer dissatisfaction and lower GPs.

His biggest enemy is time and the spreadsheets he’s been trying to work with take so long.

Tim knows that without an accurate dish spec some of the items on the menu aren’t delivering what his boss wants.

What Tim really wants is a to get a fully costed and accurately defined dish spec so all he has to do is list the ingredients of the dish, their quantities (preferably in user-friendly terms like pinch and teaspoon and lbs and oz - not just metric) and everything else just magically happens.

Well that’s exactly what happens now he has CaterCost.

Now he simply types the ingredients and everything else miraculously occurs!

Once the dish is complete he chooses the recommended retail price, his desired GP or enters his own price and sees the GP he’ll be making on that dish. EASY.

Accuracy in food profits come from precision in dish and menu specification.


 Real time saving comes into play, now I can create fully costed batched items and use them in any quantity, in any dish or recipe I want 

Matt Davies, Executive Head Chef at The Lewis Partnership, Stafford.

What’s your challenge?

Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

Click here for your free consultation


 SubRecipe_phone.jpg“Getting consistency for sub-recipes across the sites is vital to uplift profit”

Matt is like a walking encyclopaedia – carrying thousands of recipes in his head, and was always struggling to nail a documented dish spec.

Because the recipes weren't written down he could never be sure his chefs were making food batches to the right formula. Matt tried to solve this sub-recipe conundrum using spreadsheets – but with over 400 menu items and 200 sub-recipes the task was too enormous to tackle.

This problem isn't limited to multi-sites such as Matt's. Even a small independent operator will have a range of sub-recipes that are used to construct dishes on the menu

This is where clients such as Matt are really feeling the time-saving benefits of CaterCost software.

Not only can he be precise with batch quantities and portions for each recipe, wth the accuracy to shave a few pence here and there to make big improvements to profitability, his data is always live, allowing price increases to flow through every sub-recipe he has created.

AND by using CaterCost NEW feature 'QUICK UPDATE" he can make changes to hundreds of items without a single mouse click. 




 Loads of boring data entry before I can get going? I haven’t got time for that, and I'm no whizz with a mouse 

Stephan Rondoz, South Deep Bistro, Poole.

What’s your challenge?

Arrange a free consultation with a CaterCost food profit specialist

Click here for your free consultation


 DataEntry_iPad.jpg“I love the user-friendliness of the costing part but frankly data entry makes me feel like jumping into the harbour”

Stephan is right, no system as sophisticated as CaterCost can operate without accurate data. He understands the quality of the initial data entry and costs of his supplied ingredients (meat, fish, fruit and veg, dried goods, frozen products etc,) is a VITAL part of setting up his dish costing system accurately.The initial data entry will determine the accuracy of his dish specifications. 

That’s where CaterCost helps, by giving users options.

  • Option to start from an empty ingredients list (store cupboard). 
  • Option to customise and edit 600 standard kitchen store cupboard ingredients.
  • Option to get CaterCost to take care of your initial data pre-load – using your individual prices and suppliers

“Getting data in there as quickly and as accurately as possible to start was really important to me. I had the busy summer months looming and I didn’t want to hold up creating a really profitable summer menu by wasting time on data entry”

Stephan viewed paying for CaterCost’s “done-for-you-service” as a business investment, guaranteeing he’d make better margin immediately rather than keep making half-hearted solutions to his costing problems.

What is CaterCost?

Market-leading menu costing software – to manage your menus, control your costs and improve your profits, without the need for spreadsheets, formulas, calculators (or a PHD in Maths)



How does it work?

Store Cupboard:  Load your purchase data and supplier details

Quick Update:   Bulk edit hundreds of store cupboard ingredients without a single mouse click

Recipes:   Detail your sub-recipes to become fully costed entities and add to dishes in any quantity you like

Dishes:  Create dish specifications for every menu item from supplied ingredient data and sub-recipes. Set retail price points according to desired Gross Profit %

Menus:   Put together your menus from your library of dishes. Set your overall GP% and see underperforming dishes flagged. Enter sales mix against menu dishes to get an accurate GP% and cash margin per menu

Supplier Intelligence:   Search and compare prices of ingredients bought from more than one source


carehome_plate.jpgCaterCost for Care Homes

If your cooks are cutting corners to come in on budget – or – they’re creating great food with no regard to food costs,you need an easy to use system to manage your menus.

CaterCost will help you manage your in-house catering to optimise quality and keep a firm hand on cost.

Nutritional analysis of dishes is included in the costing process.

Call CaterCost now to chat with our  specialist team and arrange a free consultation. 01202 348007


Dish Specifications

Unlike spreadsheets, CaterCost uses live data letting you create accurate dish specifications as quickly as you can type.

Recipes within recipes

Forget having to fathom your component recipes as a single unit – enter a batch recipe and use it over and over again, fully costed in whatever quantity you choose.

Food cost price fluctuations

One click price increase function updates recipes, sub-recipes and dish spec.

Sales Mix

Real-time theoretical reports on menu performance (cash margin and GP%).

NutriAllergens_comply.jpgDish Analysis

Nutritional information and allergens are flagged in recipes and dishes automatically, this helps you to comply with food labelling regulations.

Real life user-friendliness

CaterCost allows users to enter ingredients in the language of the kitchen – both metric and imperial, a bunch, a pinch, a fillet, a bulb.

Eliminate error

Add dish photos and recipe methods to ensure consistency.

Time Saving

'Copy' and edit specifications saving repetitive data entry.

Profit warnings

CaterCost flags every underperforming dish.

Price Comparison

Supplier intelligence lets you compare supplier prices per 100g.

Identify menu cash-cows

See dish-by-dish GP performance to influence menu layout to promote most profitable lines.

Print or email

Hard copies of recipes and dish specs and menus as PDFs.


All menu info in one place – not in chef’s head or on random bits of paper.


Multiple users per location, each with their own log on and ‘permissions’. Unlimited supplied ingredient, recipe and dish spec entries.

Transparent Pricing

Simple low-cost pricing and no hidden extras.

Food Labeling Legislation for Allergens

Give your residents and their families the information they need on allergens



Accuracy in food profits comes from precision in dish specification


easy.jpgUnique user-friendly design

The only menu costing system designed and created by a multi-award winning hospitality industry specialist explicitly for the independent sector. Founder Ali Carter has already won two entrepreneurial awards for CaterCost.


mobile-devices.jpgLatest technology

Cloud-hosted application running on the Microsoft Azure platform part of Microsoft’s global services platform, the same physical data centres which run Xbox Live. The system security is the same level as online banking and has all data written in triplicate so that the system never goes offline, even if a server does.

Windows and Mac compatible. Operates in all browsers.



Our telephone pledge

If, like so many people, you or your team find being alone with a new bit of technology a bit daunting, you’re worried you’ll get stuck and wont be able to make it work, our promise to you is you can speak to someone – a real person! We’ll speak to you on the phone for as long as it takes to help you use CaterCost.

Just what you need - a friendly voice to chat you through what ever you're trying to do.