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Dulwich College's Shift to Kafoodle: Automating Menus for Staff and Student Ease

Dulwich College has been a top-tier educational facility since 1619 and is now host to around 1,800 students aged between 6 months and 18 years and staff every day on both a daytime and boarding school basis.

The quick unplanned arrival of the pandemic meant the college needed to find a digital menu they could introduce rapidly with click-and-collect functionality to prevent queues and implement social distancing measures. 

Whilst there were many solutions available. Few had allergen reporting included, and with Natasha's Law soon to be introduced, Dulwich College needed a single software to provide solutions to all their current and future requirements.

We interviewed the college's Head of Catering, Will Sales, to discover how Kafoodle provided the all-in-one menu management system the college needed.

Improved food safety

with ingredient and recipe allergen reporting and labeling that updates instantly to changes.

Transparent information

available for staff, students and parents to access digitally for up-to-date menu details.

Change history

with users specific edit actions allow for in-depth analysis of system changes.

The Problems

The primary motivation to seek a menu management system was the immediate need for pre-ordering software to allow the onsite cafe to continue functioning through the pandemic's social distancing rules.

However, as the impending enforcement of Natasha's Law approached, Dulwich's catering team recognised the necessity of finding a more secure, reliable, and efficient method for managing allergens in their recipes and incorporating them into labels and menus.

Drawbacks of Manual Processes

The catering team relied on a combination of Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, which resulted in certain limitations. Will explained, "We had allergen information but couldn't do anything with it. We could not track changes, and all modifications had to be done manually."

Since the documents were not integrated, every menu change, occurring three times per year for each new educational term, consumed significant time and demanded a start-from-scratch approach. Even creating the daily menu was time-consuming, which required a staff member to copy and paste recipe information into a menu template to be printed and displayed in the college's canteen. 

Challenges with Pre-ordering during the Pandemic

Without any established ordering systems and with strict adherence to social distancing regulations, the onsite café faced an immediate need to facilitate customers' access to a digital menu, enabling them to place orders for food and beverages and select collection times. This solution was crucial to managing queues and eliminating unnecessary waiting effectively.

The Solution

Kafoodle emerged as the ideal choice, offering comprehensive menu management features and exceeding expectations. What set Kafoodle apart was its ability to be swiftly implemented and operational, thanks to the support of Kafoodle's onboarding training team.

Streamlined Processes with Automation

Instead of relying on disjointed documents needing more data synchronisation or automation, the catering team at Dulwich College seamlessly integrated the Kafoodle ingredient and recipe databases into their operations.

Each ingredient within the database encompassed vital information such as allergens, nutrition, cost, and units of measure. The ingredient database seamlessly connected with the recipe and menu databases, ensuring that any modification made to ingredient information would automatically update all recipes or menus using that specific ingredient.

Simplified Recipe Creation

Creating a recipe in Kafoodle proved to be a simple process. Users could effortlessly select ingredients from pre-populated drop-down menus and input the required quantity. The Kafoodle recipe builder would instantly calculate the recipe's cost, allergen content, and nutritional value. Once completed, Kafoodle generated comprehensive food labels and recipe cards. These recipe cards allowed users to include additional details such as cooking methods, storage information, and a HACCP plan.

Effortless Menu Creation

In line with the ease of recipe creation, generating menus within Kafoodle was just as straightforward. Menus were populated by simply selecting recipes. Any modifications made to the ingredient and recipe databases would be seamlessly reflected in the menu. These menus could be effortlessly launched digitally or printed using a highly customisable template.

Effortless pre-ordering

With Kafoodle, the process of pre-ordering becomes incredibly convenient. After creating a recipe, adding it to a menu is as simple as clicking a button. Customers can access digital menus through a link or scanning a QR code. The pre-order functionality empowers customers to effortlessly select items for collection and choose from various available times. Once they arrive, customers only need to pay for their order, streamlining the entire process.

The Result

Implementing Kafoodle at Dulwich College resulted in benefits beyond a pre-order menu and an allergy compliance tool. Kafoodle effectively frees information previously 'stuck' in documents, providing what Will describes as a "central tool to streamline the college's menu processes".

Reliable Data Accessible to All

The catering team at Dulwich College now have a single unified database for all their data, not numerous folders filled with individual files. "All the information is now at my fingertips. Before, I would have to rely on the Head Chef being available," said Will.

Any modification in Kafoodle automatically updates the entire system, eliminating the laborious task of manually searching for and updating documents affected by the change. Will explained, "Previously, with menus changing three times a year for each new school term, we had to start from scratch. Now, we can simply duplicate and edit menus, saving us hours of manual entry."

In the past, menus were painstakingly created daily, involving the laborious process of copying and pasting information from various files. These menus then had to be checked by a senior member for errors. With Kafoodle, menus are generated directly within the system. They can be made available online or printed using a template without searching or copying, saving time and improving accuracy by minimising the potential for human error.

Enhanced Tracking and Accountability

Will can now track changes made in Kafoodle through comprehensive audit trails and change histories. This functionality enables precise identification of specific user actions, complete with date and time stamps. He remarked, "Using documents and spreadsheets before, we had no change history or visibility of past information, and we certainly couldn't identify who made changes and when."

Quick ordering and even faster collection 

Thanks to Kafoodle's click-and-collect functionality, Dulwich College successfully maintained its café operation throughout the pandemic. Customers could conveniently access the café's online menu, select their desired items, choose a collection time, and arrive at the designated time to pay. This streamlined approach significantly reduced waiting times and eliminated queues, ensuring compliance with social distancing rules while prioritising customer safety.

Future Plans

With access to Kafoodle's entire suite of features, Will stated, "We purchased Kafoodle because of what it was capable of, knowing we can grow into it and steadily introduce functionality". 

Dulwich College intends to prioritise the sustainability of its menus and leverage Kafoodle to monitor and minimise food waste. Additionally, they plan to initiate carbon labelling, emphasising their commitment to environmental responsibility.

Advice from Wills Sales, Head of Catering

"Always look for something user-friendly. It must work for all levels of the organisation, both internally and externally. Internally people not only have to understand the software, but it also has to make their lives easier. Externally you have to think about who will have access and what information they want to see. In our case, it has to be easy enough to use that young children and adults can benefit from the digital menus."

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