Commissioned by Procure-to-Pay (P2P) catering firm Zupa, the survey of 250 head chefs, executive chefs, operations managers, and general managers showed 40% believed a lack of training and resources were to blame for low morale amongst staff.
Additionally, another 20% admitted they were frustrated by unnecessary complexity and outdated technology, which had made the problems worse, while 27% were highly concerned about rising costs.
Poor kitchen management, a lack of staff, and food shortages were also among the concerns highlighted.
Zupa CEO Ollie Brand said: “This latest survey combined with the events of the last couple of years, perhaps highlights there is no return to the ‘old normal’.
“We now have a ‘new normal’ defined by unpredictability that requires aptitude, not just acceptance of uncertainty and change.
“Innovation is paramount and recognition the right technology can help is critical to creating positive change in this sector.
"However, the survey does raise concerns as many are still failing to make the connection between outdated, manual processes and key operational concerns raised by their staff.”
Furthermore, 99% of respondents stated multiple aspects of their day-to-day tasks were being overlooked due to time-consuming manual processes while staff happiness within the sector had suffered due to poor team cohesion teamed with outdated processes with 44% of participants having highlighted this as a major issue.
Food wastage and sustainability were also reportedly being overlooked within catering firms due to legacy systems and high volumes of manual admin, with 40% stating this was a real problem for the sector.
Brand added: “Despite the obvious gap between outdated processes and business functions being side lined, it is clear workers are over stretched and this is having a knock-on effect on the productivity of catering teams, and quite likely the quality of customer service.”
Time for change
The survey also revealed these issues, coupled with poor business vision, had culminated in a reduction of creativity and innovation within the industry.
Chef creativity in particular, was called out by more than 20% of respondents who felt chefs don’t have time to innovate, with 65% of chefs stating they would invest in the creativity of their cooking and menus given more time.
Additionally, just over half (51%) of participants said improved technology would help their business, with a further 43% stating the introduction of new technology would be exciting.
Brand said: “Staff attrition and low morale are endemic in this sector, and this comes at a time when the focus should be on business priorities like retention, development, and improvement of customer service.
“Technology has the ability to transform operational performance and profitability for the better, so the time is ripe for change.”