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How Charlie & Franks uses FoodByUs to manage their multi-venue cafe and catering business

‘FoodByUs takes the guesswork out of doing your job.’

Francesca Bartone-Prodromou
Co-owner and Co-founder
Frank
Venue Manager
Charlie & Franks
Venue type: Cafe + Caterer
Number of suppliers: 25
Most used features:
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Fun fact: Multi-venue cafe that also does catering

About

Charlie & Franks is more than just a cafe, but a story of belonging and celebration. The journey of Charlie & Frank’s is unique as it begins with family and comes from the heart. For this case study we interviewed Venue Manager, Frank, and co-owner, Fran. They are driven by their passion for "food, wine, chaos, music, acceptance, kids, fun, and making endless memories.”

From one-by-one to all-in-one

Prior to FoodByUs, cafe owners Frank & Fran used over 25 suppliers to order for their two award-winning cafes and corporate catering business. This resulted in a number of time consuming processes creeping into their business.

The first issue: the supplier sign up process. Each supplier requires a credit application form, and this document varies per supplier. Fran tells us that this was a “constant manual process that was tedious and nauseating.” She adds that “each application form could be up to 10 pages and take up to 2 weeks for turnaround.”

The next issue: communication. Multiple suppliers means multiple ways of communicating. Using a variety of methods including phone, email, text, apps and even fax was extremely frustrating as “inaccuracies were made, and time was wasted chasing up manual processes - we would even have to chase up any of our chefs who may have missed the handover from the weekend.”

Since using the FoodByUs platform, Venue Manager, Frank says that above all what has helped the most is: “I can understand what’s going on.” With FoodByUs, cafes and restaurants with more than one location can link their venues into one platform so that anyone, including the Head Chef and the Manager, can view the orders from the same dashboard and share a universal view.

Catering’s unique challenges

‘In one way catering is very structured and easy to run because you know what you need, but it can also be very last minute and that is where FoodByUs has helped us immensely’

Charlie & Franks are renowned for their corporate catering service. Customers can order through their website or through catering platforms such as EatFirst.

“FoodByUs takes the risk out of catering, specifically when unexpected events occur,” Fran says, because “it’s quick and easy,” especially when a flood of clients ask for niche items or a last minute function is booked. As Frank explains, “I can now source things quickly, even within 10 minutes if I wanted to. All the pricing and details are there so I can easily find out what I need.”

Fran elaborates, “being able to have instant pricing available is critical as it caters for customer requirements, especially when it’s a major event where you need to get spot on prices.” With multi-user access to FoodByUs, every catering staff member can use the FoodByUs platform to customise things to the ever-changing needs of clients.

Swift on-boarding of new team members

‘I love that all the suppliers are in one platform and everything is visible’

Perhaps the most beneficial for Frank and his team is the simplicity and visibility FoodByUs provides when bringing in new members of the team. Often cafe owners don’t have a lot of spare time and are always looking for simpler ways of achieving their goals - like building cross-team awareness. Frank says “all the suppliers are in one platform which makes it super easy when training new employees because I can show them all the products and suppliers we use which creates less hassle for me." With standardised ordering procedures via FoodByUs, new staff can jump into ordering within moments of starting at the Charlie & Franks team.

Cost and cash flow awareness

‘It takes the confusion out of pricing as it is all right there’

In the past, Frank was constantly going through price lists to find a well-priced supplier which "took hours at a time and often took up a lot of my day.” He would constantly be going through paper price lists and tried his best to stay on top of it from month to month. With FoodByUs, Frank says "I can find supplier costs easily which saves me loads of time." Because all costs are known up front and live in your dashboard, with FoodByUs you will always know costs per item, daily specials as well as alternative product options.

Another great feature which Fran appreciates is the "all in one solution for payments." FoodByUs has all financial reports, invoices and documentation in one spot meaning Fran can plan for and manage the cash flow better. Not only is there incredible transparency when viewing costs, she can also see how prices fluctuate over time and compare the market whenever she needs. The surcharge-free credit card payments that FoodByUs offers were also a game changer, because many of her old suppliers didn’t accept credit card.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
FoodByUs acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations as the traditional custodians of Australia. We acknowledge the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the place from which we operate, which we now call Sydney.
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