Firm has Zest for foreign markets

SHEFFIELD catering software specialist Fretwell-Downing Hospitality has secured significant contracts with businesses in Japan and Russia.

FDH will supply its web-based nutritional analysis software, Saffron, to Zest Catering in Yokohama.

The software, which is already a market leader in the UK, will support Zest Catering’s drive to set a benchmark within international schools throughout Japan by providing school meals that adhere to nutritional guidelines.

Zest also intends making the nutritional breakdown available to parents and pupils by utilising Saffron’s traffic light reporting system, where red, amber or green symbols denote whether particular nutrients such as salt, fat and sugar are present in high, medium or low quantities.

Managing director Nick Prime said: “As well as securing more contracts for our management information software within our established catering markets, we are also making inroads into newer sectors including the mainstream restaurant market, particularly as caterers are increasingly looking for software support in the face of burgeoning food costs.

“Utilising the latest technology also means we have, in effect, broken down any barriers to doing business overseas particularly as our software can be accessed via a password-controlled website rather than having to be installed and updated on each PCs or laptop.”

FDH, which is celebrating 30 years in business, has also started supplying its touchscreen self-ordering software, Saffron Xpress, to upmarket Russian chain Coffee Mania. Already the first installation is up and running in the flagship coffee shop in Moscow and plans are in place to roll out the technology across other Coffee Mania outlets.

Through Saffron Xpress, Coffee Mania customers can avoid queuing by ordering directly using the touchscreen menu which then automatically transfers the details back to the kitchen complete with unique order number that matches the printed ticket held by the customer.

Throughout the initial set-up stages, the web-based software has been installed remotely by FDH working closely with the coffee chain using remote login’ technology.

To cater for the language differences, Saffron Xpress has also been adapted to enable customers to order either in Russian or English, but then the orders automatically revert to Russian when they’re transferred to the kitchen to be made up.

Mr Prime said: “This is an important contract for us and shows just how versatile the technology is within a retail setting, including meeting multi-lingual requirements.

“The coffee shop sector in Russia is mirroring the growth that has been seen in the UK and with people having less time to spend waiting to be served, we’re seeing even more interest within the hospitality sector for technology that can overcome this challenge.”