By Nicole Di Tomasso
The foodservice industry is embracing digital advancements as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, causing a fundamental shift in the way restaurants operate. While the front-of-house shift from paper menus and call-in carryout orders to QR codes, online ordering and third-party delivery was already in motion prior to the pandemic, digitizing the back-of-house operation is one of the latest innovations. Notch, a Toronto-based software company, is leading this digital transformation and helping franchises and restaurant groups across North America bring the entire restaurant supply chain online and reap the economic and strategic benefits.
“The foodservice sector is a hyper-competitive market,” says Jordan Huck, president and CEO of Notch. “Majority of restaurants are using a POS system, yet the back of the house remains offline. There’s a lot of time wasted in managing a manual order desk.”
Formerly known as ChefHero, Notch’s software is designed to help both restaurants and wholesale distributors reduce costs and streamline their operations. Restaurants can manage a number of distributor relationships, compare pricing, track real-time inventory and file invoices using Notch Market. Wholesale distributors, on the other hand, can receive orders and payment online in a clear and organized way through Notch Connect. Notch is also working to develop Notch Pay, an automated payment and collection tool. Once completed, transactions will no longer be done through Notch Connect.
There are a number of benefits to leveraging a digital supply chain transformation. Certainly, the ability to promote growth and enhance productivity and profitability are important outcomes, but other benefits include accessing a holistic solution to supply chain management, connecting and relating the latest data sources and improving communication and collaboration. In essence, a digital supply chain is a more transparent and agile alternative that can track many variables such as inventory shortages or overages, modifications to orders and availability of resources.
“On the distributor side, workers can spend more time proactively reaching out to clients or working on marketing programs to help grow the business,” says Huck. “And on the restaurant side, many chefs can go back to what they love doing most, which is serving and interacting with diners, instead of manually entering invoices.”
Currently, more than 400 distributors and nearly 1,500 restaurants are using Notch’s software, including Ghost Kitchen Brands, Paramount Fine Foods, Banh Mi Boys and Gusto 54 Group.
“Technology is always moving everything forward, and I’m pleased that it’s finally reaching our kitchens,” says executive chef Elio Zannoni, Gusto 54 Group. “With Notch, we’re streamlining our operations and staff can now use their time elsewhere instead of focusing heavily on inventory and food ordering. We would have employees entering invoices every day, but now the digital copies can go straight into our inventory system.”
Ultimately, a digitized supply chain is quickly becoming more of a necessity for foodservice businesses to remain feasible and competitive. By embracing the full potential of technology and cloud-based solutions, businesses can set themselves up to thrive now and into the future.
“We have customers that believe in this product, and they’re helping us change the industry,” says Huck. “That’s our mission here – bringing B2B commerce to restaurants and wholesale distributors online through a single platform.”