Care home provider Sanctuary Care hopes to cut costs and improve the efficiency of its catering purchasing after signing up to a new e-procurement system from contract catering veteran and Host boss Jerry Brand.
The not-for-profit organisation, which has 49 sites across the UK, is the first client for the Caternet Plus system, which offers real-time pricing and access to more than 200 catering suppliers.
Caternet will handle an estimated £1.35m of net-priced purchasing in its first year for Sanctuary, charging a percentage of turnover as commission. Sanctuary is using the latest version of the software, which includes management tools for budgeting and stock control, and supports cashless payment and electronic point-of-sale.
Sanctuary finance director Mark McCarthy said: "We're looking forward to benefiting from Host's net purchasing power and the ease of accounting for the various homes' purchases."
More than half of the Sanctuary sites were previously catered for by Cater Plus and Sodexho, with one unit handled by Host.
Brand said the software was launched as a result of the lack of price transparency in the contract catering market, arguing that the major players were "taking too much out and stagnating growth".
Tony Horton, managing director of food service consultancy Tricon, agreed that the issue of pricing remained a live one, although he added that contracts were evolving. "Clients are concerned about rip-off prices but developments in the marketplace with changes in contract type from the traditional cost-plus to guaranteed performance and commercial contracts could negate the value of price transparency in the future," Horton said.
- Host has won its 92nd contract, at Imperial Tobacco in Nottingham, which had been with Compass Group-owned caterer Eurest for 20 years. The three-year contract, worth £850,000 per annum, will feed up to 900 staff.
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By Chris Druce
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