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Communication and record keeping

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caterers must communicate with
customers, suppliers, staff.
good communication
avoids misunderstandings which can lead to mistakes, inefficiency and loss of customers.
verbal communication
used for talking to customers and giving instructions to staff.
written communication
used for confirming bookings, taking customer orders, memos and letters.
used for taking bookings or for contacting suppliers.
often used when a signature is required - for example, ordering from suppliers.
ICT communications
email can be used for bookings or communicating with customers or suppliers. Websites can advertise services or allow customers to make enquiries.
Records of what was bought and how much it cost.
accident book
details of any accidents are kept here
staff rotas
a timetable showing the shifts to be worked by each staff member.
food and drink orders
slips of paper to record customer orders - usually one per table.
restaurant bookings
a diary with time slots for each booking.
ICT in the catering industry
electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems, stock control systems, menu engineering, events management, dietary analysis, food management systems.
electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems
software that keeps track of customer orders in a bar or restaurant. All the customer's orders are entered into devices that transmit them to a central computer which records all of the customer's orders and generates their final bill.
stock control systems
monitor stock levels accurately, recording usage of stock and adding new stock as it's received. The system orders new stock automatically when levels fall and also records the prices of stock bought in.
menu engineering
software calculates how profitable and popular different dishes are so chefs can design profitable menus.
events management
A caterer can log the data from events, such as the number of guests and the meals they chose, so as to plan similar events in the future.
dietary analysis
software that calculates the nutritional value of different meals.
food management systems
an electronic database of recipes and ingredients for dishes.
customers with communication difficulties
staff should be patient and listen to what they need.
customers with other specific needs
staff should be aware of the facilities the establishment has that could help - Braille signs, audio induction loops, wheelchair ramp, lift, baby-changing room or high chairs.