Feeding your teams: why aggregators miss the mark
Office catering

Feeding your teams: why aggregators miss the mark

On 25 Jun 2024 by Fooditude

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As the 'go-to' person for organising food for your teams, you might have experienced varied success when using aggregator services. But ensuring your teams are well-fed shouldn't be a roll of the dice. You deserve better.

Aggregators are 'middlemen' companies (not caterers) that create a platform where offices can take large orders of meals from different restaurants, like ordering a takeaway, but on a vast scale. Everything is delivered to the office and then distributed to employees.

What could possibly go wrong? 

We checked the first five reviews of one of the largest aggregator services on Trustpilot, and here's what some customers had to say about their experience:

▶️ "Food doesn't arrive, food is late (by 1hr+), food arrives without labels so we don't know which is which"

▶️"Every time I have a problem. It's impossible to ring in. They call you as they want. No number to call back on"

Aggregators can work well when they get it right. Some happier customers did leave positive reviews. However, in our opinion, the risks aren't worth it: from wrong or missing orders and late deliveries to disorderly meal distribution among office staff. And don’t get us started on the added probability of incorrect allergen labelling that puts diners at risk.

A food aggregator might be dependable enough and serve smaller offices (with a headcount of roughly under 15 people). But those sorting food for larger headcounts in offices just don't need the agro of things going wrong.

When food arrives but it's not as expected, those who organise the team lunch will receive all the flak - and who needs that?



Why does the aggregator model not always work as it should?

Ownership, or the lack of it, prevents aggregators from becoming a trusted way to feed teams in the office. An aggregator requires separate groups to work cohesively - this doesn’t always happen.

You’ve sent across your food order. Aggregators must then pass over all the necessary details to your chosen restaurant, and the restaurant needs to fulfil the order. Drivers of the aggregator team must pick up the order and deliver it on time to your workplace.

When things go wrong, there can be a breakdown of accountability and the absence of a coordinated effort to find a resolution. Let's say the client notices that some hot dishes arrived cold, for example. The client calls the aggregator's helpline or account manager, who will then need to juggle calls between drivers and the restaurant kitchen to ask the awkward questions of "who's fault is it?" and "who's going to fix it?".

The problem is that the driver and restaurant already consider it a 'job done'. The cohesive team spirit isn't there to ensure the order is remedied pronto.

Even if the aggregator seeks to right the wrong of a messed-up lunch, a resolution will likely not be made quickly enough to get a freshly cooked dish out to Phoebe, Head of Accounts, before she must dash off for her 1 p.m. meeting. She looked forward to her chicken katsu and wasn't pleased.


The delivered catering alternative

Not to boast, but our delivered catering approach is the preferred choice for feeding some of London's most innovative teams, especially within American tech. Not only do we get meal orders right and on time (every time), but we also take a vigilant approach to allergy and dietary requirements—as well as sustainability.

Our operations team and on-site catering manager are always ready to coordinate with the rest of the team if an issue arises. Everyone knows each other and shares the same goal of making mealtimes happen. We have the same mission, and we're all accountable. Moreover, since 2005 - we've never missed a single mealtime for our clients. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.

Aggregators have the right idea of being able to feed teams at workplaces whilst taking away the need for an on-site kitchen. But when it gets down to the details, they need more 'togetherness' to be food service partners workplaces can depend on.

In our humble opinion, our delivered catering approach takes complete ownership of ensuring your teams get a proper lunch break - whilst serving fresh, cooked-from-scratch food.


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