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11 Software Solutions You Never Thought to Use in Your Catering Business

As catering business owners and leaders, we always have a million and one balls in the air. From managing your team to ensuring flawless client experience to cost and inventory management–it’s a lot. How do you keep track of it all? 

The key is having software solutions that can help you manage your workflow and communicate effectively and easily. 

Now, catering businesses are different from many “traditional” businesses. So we don’t always think to use more mainstream software solutions and instead go seeking industry-specific solutions like Total Party Planner, Synergy, Caterease, and Curate. While we love those—they aren’t going to do it all. 

During our January International Caterers Association (ICA) Webinar, Jeremy Brown, Co-Founder & CEO of Nameless Catering, graciously shared a handful of mainstream software that his company has used to elevate its business operations. Sometimes for free. 

Today, we’re sharing the wealth of knowledge with you so that you can leverage these tools within your business, too. 

1.  For internal communication & automation: Slack 

In a catering business, internal communication is perhaps the single most important factor for success. For that reason, Slack is a great tool. 

The online or app-based platform allows for messaging channels that are either organization-wide or specific groups only. So, for example, you can have channels for big events to have all communication in one spot, along with channels for staffing updates, new menu highlights you want to share with the team, or a managers-only channel. 

You can also have a little fun with it and use it for team building with fun channels like #bon-apetit, where team members can share delicious dishes they had somewhere to spark inspiration, or #just-gifs for coworkers to share funny gifs and bond.

Features: Private or public messaging channels, ability to use text, phone, audio message, face-to-face calls, and integrate tools like Gravity, Jotform, surveys, etc. with plug-ins

Price: Free to $15/month 

2.  For document sharing & photo storage: Google Drive 

Catering involves intricate planning, menu creation, and communication among team members, clients, and suppliers. Google Drive facilitates real-time collaboration on spreadsheets, presentations, and documents, allowing multiple stakeholders to work simultaneously on event details, menu revisions, and logistics. 

The cloud-based nature of Google Drive ensures that all essential files are accessible from any device with internet connectivity, streamlining communication and coordination for catering teams working on the go or from different locations. 

With its secure storage, easy sharing options, and version control features, Google Drive enhances organization and communication within catering companies, ultimately contributing to smoother operations and successful events.

Features: Simple online storage, shared alternative to Microsoft products like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc., easy multi-factor authentication

Price: Free to $49.99/month 

3.  For project management: Asana

Let’s go back to all those balls in the air. If tasks aren’t written down, they get lost. Simple as that. So, Asana is a robust platform that really allows you to build a project management infrastructure that caters to your company’s unique workflows. 

Tasks can be automated when a new booking or project is created, or you can manually add tasks as they come up. It’s simple to tag and communicate with colleagues and provides a good checklist for daily standup. 

Features: Accountability via automated task management and easy communication with Slack connection

Price: Free to $24.99 per person/month 

4.  For surveys, reviews, & client communication: Captivated   

This VOIP-based texting and call service allows you to increase the speed of communication between clients and inside sales without having to give out personal cell numbers. It also supports easy templated responses and auto-replies so clients can be served even when your team is away from the office.

Beyond that, you can streamline client feedback post-event and lead them right to your Google page to leave a review, which is huge for marketing and lead gen efforts. While the price tag seems high, think about it as a marketing investment. If you book even one teeny-tiny event a month, the investment will pay off.

Features: Automated review and survey system, bot chat functionality

Price: $169.00 to $499.00/month  

5.  For photo editing:

You’re not going to sell catering with food pictures that look chaotic. You want your marketing photos to have clean lines and soft backgrounds to really feature your food and design. But most small caterers don’t have the funds or bandwidth to have a graphic designer on staff. That’s where comes in. 

You can use this free tool to remove the entire background hiding behind your artfully plated food. Then, you can take that background-free image and use it in the next tool to create your marketing photos…

Features: Photo background removal

Price: Free  

6.  For marketing, advertising, & menu design: Canva

These days, people want pretty graphics and menus. It’s become a part of the sales and event experience.

But, without a graphic designer on staff, how do you do it? 


This online or app-based graphic design tool allows you to create your own collateral and advertising with the click of a few buttons. From your sales menus to actual client menus for events, advertisements you’re sending to local outlets, and brochures for your latest offer, you can find them and create them all on Canva. 

Features: Drag-and-drop graphic design with templates

Price: Free to $120 per person/annually  

7.  For scheduling: Calendly

You don’t realize how much time you’re wasting doing things manually until you do the math. Calendly found that using their scheduling tool accelerates sales cycles by saving about 15 minutes of back and forth per meeting. That could result in hours a week regained on actual revenue-generating activity.

Add that up in the span of a year of multiple team members scheduling meetings–that’s a lot of wasted time unless you automate. 

Plus, clients like to be able to book meetings at their convenience, so it enhances the client experience, too. 

Features: Automated meeting scheduling 

Price: Free to $16.00 per person/month  

8.  For task management & reminders: Remember the Milk (RTM)  

A lot of caterers are list lovers because it’s easy to forget things when you have a million and one things swirling in your head. RTM provides an easy-to-use interface for you to track all your tasks in one place. You can even color code so you can track personal and work tasks in one place. 

Features: App-based task tracking that’s easy to use and can be in your pocket during an event

Price: Free to $49.99/annually  

9.  For fleet monitoring: Verizon Connect

With real-time GPS tracking, caterers can monitor their fleet's location, ensuring timely and efficient deliveries. Verizon Connect provides insights into driver behavior, vehicle diagnostics, and route efficiency, enabling caterers to enhance fuel efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, and improve overall fleet performance.

Since it connects to CapitalOne and other banking tools, teams can cross-reference mileage with gas transactions for extra layers of security and financial transparency.

Features: Vehicle tracking and cost management

Price: Varies – e.g. $220/month for 15 vehicles with a three-year contract   

10.  For visual communication:  Loom

No one wants to live in meetings. Nor does anyone have time to do that, even if they did want to. But a lot of us are also visual learners and struggle to comprehend tasks or design ideas through voice notes or text. 

That’s where Loom comes in. 

You can use it to screen record and share what you’re envisioning or looking at, as you provide instructions or chat it out with your team. This comes in handy in so many ways, from creating design boards to making changes to staffing plans or event schedules. Record, explain, and share a link so relevant team members can view it when it fits into their schedule—no meeting required. 

In fact, your dashboard will tell you how many meetings you’ve saved by sharing Loom videos! 

Features: Screen recording for fast tutorials and decreased meetings

Price: Free to $12.50 per person/month  

11. For Customer Proposals Portals: Curate

Customers expect a different level of proposal experience than they did in 2003. Instagram and Pinterest drive their expectations of how proposals should look and feel. Their trust in a brand goes beyond what their favorite Aunt mentioned. Giving clients 3 to 4 links to follow your booking process doesn't help. So, how can you build that trust?

Enter Curate. While many companies have moved to Curate from their traditional catering software, what makes it so different is the trust their proposals give to your customers. Curate's Proposal takes what used to be manual and multiple steps for customers and puts it into one all-in-one portal. Clients can view and interact with photos just like on the social media sites they love. They can digitally sign the agreement and make payments directly from a single link. Most importantly, you can keep that same link from the start of the sale process until after the event - even if it's 15 months away. This empowers the customer to always have the correct information instead of relying on dated PDFs that have changed in their inbox.

Price: Plans starting at $100/month

Want more ICA education to help you save money & resources in your hospitality business?

Most of these software solutions have free versions or free trials, so you can test out how it would work in your business before deploying to the rest of your team. But if your team is struggling with communication, accountability, or general organization and operations, these tools could surely support you!

If you’re interested in being notified of future catering industry live and virtual education opportunities while also gaining access to our exclusive community of fellow catering professionals, visit Membership awaits!  


International Caterers Association

For motivated caterers, International Caterers Association is a resource that provides Education, encourages peer to peer Relationships and Inspires creativity while embracing all segments of the catering industry. For more information, visit