Beyond the Technology…What is Consulting?

Beyond the Technology…What is Consulting?


CBORD’s food and nutrition service consultant, Cathy Ness, sat down with us recently to discuss what consulting is at CBORD and the value a CBORD consultant can provide to you.

What is consulting at CBORD? How is this different from other consultants in other industries?

CBORD consulting is different because we focus not just on operational processes, but also on using technology to support and automate best business practices as well as creating financial insight into a customer’s food business. We don’t just give advice, like a lot of consultants. We provide a roadmap of action items to help customers reach their goals.

Why does consulting matter?

Sometimes when you are operating a food business, you can really get bogged down in the weeds of the day-to-day operations. This makes it hard for operators to take a step back and look at their operations through a different lens. As a consultant, I challenge customers to think differently about their food operations, and provide viable alternatives they may have not considered, or have considered, but aren’t sure how to get there. I help people get out of the rut of thinking, “This is the way we have always done it.”

As a CBORD customer, what’s in it for me? What value can you provide to my operation?

When implementing recommended strategies and food management system usage, the return on investment (ROI) can be significant. Between lowering food costs, reducing waste, and tighter inventory management, customers can save thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. When I work with customers, I use tools to measure potential ROI based on current state, current food spending, and projected savings with improved processes and system usage to provide them a projected return in real dollars.

What is different about your approach?

I think the most significant difference is I make recommendations on processes that tie into users’ food management software to ensure they are leveraging their software to its fullest extent. Author JB Woods often talks about the consumption gap, which is the gap between the technology people have and the extent to which they are using that technology. My approach focuses on closing that gap. Then I take those recommendations and create a roadmap for customers to achieve them.

What areas do you provide consultation for?

While my primary focus is on food business processes, I am often brought into other areas of food management. In addition to traditional food business processes, like purchasing, inventory, menu engineering, and food cost control, I also work with customers to do process mapping and documentation, change management coaching, vendor selection coaching, waste reduction strategies, and food flow analysis.

How do you define success in your consulting work?

Success for me is when customers are able to identify key areas of financial and operational performance to measure and control in order to reach their financial and operational goals. When I hear a customer say they have saved money, reduced waste, or they are operating so much more efficiently, I see that as a big win!

I understand that you are an Analytics coach for CBORD. How does that tie into your consulting role?

That’s a great question! Data Analytics is CBORD’s new tool allowing customers to use data from their food management systems to populate dashboards that provide a great deal of financial and operational insights into a food business. I work with customers to not only learn what data to read and how to interpret it, but I also coach them on getting the right processes in place to ensure the necessary data is maintained in their food management system. As someone who is focused on controlling costs and reducing waste, the insights Data Analytics provides are invaluable in finding areas of opportunity for improvement.

Interested in learning how Cathy can help you accomplish your goals? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

Cathy Ness

Cathy Ness

Food Management Consultant

Cathy has over 25 years of experience in managing successful large-scale foodservice operations. Cathy has worked in both healthcare and higher education food management, where she leveraged the power of CBORD’s solutions daily to run foodservice operations. In her current consultant role, Cathy works closely with customers to assess their food operations and implement efficient processes to support food management best practices. 

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