The tendering debate – is there an evolution taking place in the process?

This week, EP is delighted to host an opening discussion in relation to the tendering process and whether it is in need of evolution and if so, what can be recommended?

Our aim is to bring together all parties from operator, to client to food service consultant to explore this phenomenon. The question was raised last year by a number of operators who were concerned that more and more is being asked in tenders and the cost appears to be ever growing which seems not always to be needed; most especially in a time where operators are facing such major challenges with supply, cost of living crisis, talent, inflation and increased investment in sustainability. Food service is not a high margin business, so is there a balance to be found?

At the same time, EP has been promoting the Vested concept which many like and support in principle but feel that often it is a step too far. The question as understandably been posed back: is there a half way house to be found?

It seemed logical, therefore, to open the discussion for debate.
Since we first promoted the idea for the debate, we have had over 75 senior players, and consultants write into us at EP and there does appear to be a broad consensus that notes:

  • Over 70% agree that the overall process needs evolution and should not require such heavy levels of investment as has been seen in recent times.
  • Around 60% believe more focus should be given to the pressures on all operators with the increased demands across businesses.
  • And similar levels believe that there is a need for a discussion which can bring better and more open collaboration between all parties as that is the desired outcome.

If this is the consensus, then this does create the basis for a stronger discussion for how processes can be led by consultants and achieve optimal outcomes?

At the same time, research is also indicating that operators are seeking to invest more once again in:

  • Service innovation.
  • Technological advancement.
  • Sustainability.
  • Robust supply chains.
  • Retention, attraction and people.
  • Greater collaborative working.

Operators are investing which will invariably lead to stronger service models and options to be considered. However, it does also place pressure on margin.

At the same time, there are a whole number of consultants too who are engaging in looking at how food service can be improved, and evolved. They want to explore new ideas and thinking on behalf of their clients.

Together this bodes well for the next stage in the industry’s evolution and development. This debate is just part of the growing discussion.

To join the start of the debate on Thursday 20th April at 3pm (online), please email: