Software for
Meal Prep/Assembly
Businesses

Specializing in independent stores and franchisee-to-independent conversions
See how care free meal prep software can be

Our expertise with web programming, databases, user interfaces and the general needs and working environment found in small/start-up companies has enabled us to create a first-class yet affordable solution for your meal prep/meal assembly business. Although you can have your operation up and running "out of the box", our software is designed to be modified as needed to fit the way you want to do business.

Our offering consists of a "public" web site and ordering system used by your customers, and a "store manager" system used by you and your employees to set menus and schedules, view orders, produce reports and other day-to-day activities. Data is stored in Microsoft SQL Server databases, providing excellent performance and reliability.

The ordering system is hosted on secure servers owned and maintained by us, located in a secure facility with redundant power feeds and internet connections providing a high level of availability for you and your customers. We can also host your website for no additional charge.

To contact us for more information or to schedule a free online demo, please email info@hostedkitchen.com or call (919)342-3774.


Public Website

Home Page
Your website - and especially the home page - is what customers see first, so it needs to have the marketing appeal to get them to understand and want to try your service. We handle the marketing appeal by allowing your homepage and other "static" pages such as "About Us" to be independent of the ordering system. This gives you total control over their look and feel, and even though we'd love to create your home page for you, you are welcome to use your own web designer or your existing site if you wish. All that's needed are a few links to the ordering system.

Ease of Use
Even more important than visual appeal is ease of use. A customer needs to know how to do what they want to do without a lot of effort. If a potential customer gets lost or confused using your web site, they might give up and never come back.

Our system guides the customer through the entire ordering process using an interactive combination of easy to understand text, colors and highlighting, always letting them know where they are and what they need to do next. If they run into something they can't get past, such as the session they want is full, all they need to do is call and you can intercept their order and complete it for them.

Beyond Just Ordering
Once a customer places an order, they can change or cancel it themselves up to how ever many days you specify prior to the scheduled time, and you'll be automatically notified by email. In addition to pending orders, customers can review details about all the orders they've placed in the past. Customers may also change their registration profile at any time. All these functions are secured by the customer's own user id and password. If a customer prefers to have you make these changes, you can perform all the same functions on their behalf using the Store Manager system.

Flexible Payment Options
Hosted Kitchen provides secure and fully integrated online credit card payment options for your customers. We don't force you to use a specific credit card processor, and will use whichever "gateway" your merchant account provider prefers. You also have the option of allowing your customers to postpone payment for collection at your store. This can option can be granted for a specific order, a specific customer, or for everyone.

Private Parties Made Easy
Why should customers have to browse through a calendar to find the party they were invited to? With our system, they simply click the "party" button and are presented with a list of scheduled parties. All they need to do is click and provide a password, and then place their order.

Other features
• Wide variety of coupon, "special offer" and fundraiser options • Gift certificates • View current and future menus • Newsletters • Guided Tour • About Us • Map and directions • FAQs • Link to as many other pages as you like •


Store Manager

The Store Manager application is used within your business, and has three major components: Customer, Kitchen and Management. Access is controlled by user ids and passwords, and even though the system operates over the internet, it can be restricted if you wish to only specific computers (such as those in your store).

Customer component
The Customer component is used to manage information about customers and orders. The "activity" page allows you to see activity "at a glance" for a given week or day, and to optionally check customers in and out resulting in a color-coded display of who's here and who's not (which also allows you to discretely check that name you forgot!). Simply clicking on a customer name will show details about them, any notes you've added, and details on their specific order. Other functions include access to customer historical information and flexible customer/order lookup by partial name or phone number.

Kitchen component
The Kitchen component is used to generate items such as shopping lists and kitchen prep instructions based on orders scheduled for a specified date range or by simply selecting menu items and quantities need. Providing this type of information requires the system to know exact ingredients and measurements for a given recipe. To assist in this, we include a proprietary recipe parser which can analyze a recipe and automatically determine this information. This means if you find a recipe you want to use on the web, you simply cut and paste it into to recipe parser and it will do the rest. The recipe data is also used to generate nutritional data, assembly instructions, an order summary to give to the customer, and labels for them to stick to their "finished product" - all with a simple click.

Management component
The Management component includes a sophisticated report generator which allows you to create and save the reports you need instead of depending on someone else's "canned" reports (those are available as well!). Almost all data stored in the system can be part of a report - you decide what's important and what's not. Reports can be exported to Excel for further analysis. Examples of reports you can create are "Revenue by Week", "Repeat Customers", "Menu Item Popularity", "Revenue by Customer", and even odd things like "All customers who ordered meals containing paprika". You don't have to understand how the system stores this information - just pick the data fields and values that interest you and it does the rest.

This component also includes easy to use interfaces for scheduling, closing or canceling sessions, setting or overriding store capacity, and for blocking out days such as holidays. The Management component is also used to control system access by your employees.


Other Features

There are numerous other features in this product. Many of these are common to most meal prep software packages such as flexibility in creating packages, calendar/session management, multiple active menus, private parties, email confirmations and reminders, etc.. Here are some of the features that are either unique to us or not found frequently:
  • Rules based scheduling. An easy to use interface lets you create session rules instead of having to schedule every individual session separately. For example, you can create a rule to have a session at 1 PM on the first Tuesday of every month. Of course, if you'd prefer to schedule the sessions one-at-a-time, you can do that as well, or even do a combination of rules and single sessions.
  • Rules based close/cancels. Scheduled sessions can be closed (i.e. no more sign-ups unless they ask) or cancelled using rules. For example, with one action you can cancel all the weekend sessions for the next month.
  • Rules based capacity. The number of customers in your store at a given time can be controlled using rules or on a session by session basis. For example, if a problem occurs which results in your store temporarily having 4 fewer stations than normal, you can drop the capacity with a single rule and then restore it when the problem is fixed.
  • "Flex" sessions. Most systems only allow fixed sessions that have a specific start and end time. This is typically preferred for in-store assembly, but for special sessions like "customer pickup" you might want to give your customers a time range to choose from. With flex sessions, they can for example enter a pickup time at the start of any hour between 10 AM and 5 PM. Flex sessions can also overlap with in-store assembly sessions without impacting store capacity.
  • Overlapping sessions. Most systems only allow exclusive sessions - in other words, only 1 session can be scheduled for a given time slot. With overlapping sessions, this restriction is removed. For example, you can have a 2 hour session starting at 10 A.M. and another 2 hour session starting at 11 A.M. The system will insure that your facility is not overbooked during any given time period. This gives your customers more flexibility in scheduling their visit.
  • Non-exclusive parties.Parties are typically exclusive in that no other sessions are allowed during that time. We optionally allow a party to be non-exclusive so the facility can be shared with non-party customers.


Add-On and Custom Features
A Time Clock feature is optionally available to keep track of your hourly employees. They simply clock in and out using the system and their assigned password, and managers have the ability to adjust hours as needed.

In general, the software is designed to be customized, so feel free to ask for features you don't see and we will determine if they are possible and give you a fixed price quote to add them.


Reliability, Security and Performance

We host both your Public Site and Store Manager on servers that we own and operate. This means if any problems occur we can deal with them "hands on" instead of depending on customer support at some remote third party hosting service. Our goal is to prevent problems in the first place, so we have redundant equipment located in a secure facility with duplicate electrical systems and three independent high-speed internet connections. In the event of an area power outage, the facility has two backup power generators with 4 days of fuel on site. Your valuable data is simultaneously stored on multiple disk drives, and is backed up on a regular basis.

All internet communications between your customers and the ordering system, as well as your communications with the Store Manager, are secured and encrypted using SSL technology. Access to the Store Manager is controlled using specially coded URLs unique to your business, as well as user ids and passwords. As an owner or manager, you can revoke access to any user at any time. Sensitive data such as passwords are stored in an encrypted format, and no credit card numbers are stored on our servers. Physical access to the servers is strictly controlled and monitored.

Owning our own servers also allows us to provide excellent performance and response time for your site. We know exactly what software is running on the servers and why, and can tune, upgrade or reallocate resources as we see fit. With "shared server" hosting schemes that are often used by other meal prep software products, there are any number of totally unrelated websites running on the exact same server as yours. That means you are not just sharing disk space, but also the processor, memory and network connection. If one of those sites is extra busy or has problems, it will impact your performance as well. Even worse, you are at the mercy of the hosting provider to figure out the problem and maybe do something about it. The same issues occur with database sharing schemes since almost all web pages used by you and your customers require information stored in the database.


Next Steps

Call us today for a free trial of Hosted Kitchen and you will see how care free meal prep software can be. When you buy a software solution, you enter a relationship that will affect the success or failure of your meal prep business. Does the software work as promised? Is the vendor accessible and reliable? Does the vendor fix problems and add enhancements in a timely manner? Does the vendor speak “your language”, or do they talk to you in technical terms and expect you to understand? At Hosted Kitchen we encourage anyone looking at our software to compare us to all the competitors in the market, try the system for yourself, and talk to our existing customers. We know that you will be happy with our software and our service.

The Hosted Kitchen Buying Experience
  • Preparation – Make a checklist of the functions that are most important to you. Hosted Kitchen can provide a checklist of important features, but the solution that you need is unique to your business model so we encourage you to make a detailed list that corresponds to the functions that your business needs.
  • Comparison – Look at Hosted Kitchen and the other products on the market. We are happy to provide you with a demonstration of the capabilities of our software. In our demo we will use a live system not a set of slides and screenshots. Although we will show you some of the key product features, you are welcome to explore yourself and change any attribute and see the affect on the system. By the end of the demo you will know exactly how it will function in your environment. You may also visit some of our customer sites listed below.
  • Purchase – When you purchase the Hosted Kitchen solution we will work with you to customize the initial parameters to your business model. We offer a 60 day satisfaction guarantee. If you are not pleased with the software for any reason, we will return the entire purchase price.




You may view the above site at http://www.dinnersavvy.com/
Keep in mind that this is a "live" site, so please use the "Tour" or enter only as a guest.


Selected Hosted Kitchen Sites
Originally Independent
Dinner Savvy
Apex, North Carolina
www.dinnersavvy.com
Sous Kitchen
San Carlos, California
www.souskitchen.com
 
My Best Friend's Kitchen
Lynn Haven, Florida
www.mybfk.com
Make & Take Meals
Derby, Kansas
www.maketakemeals.com
 
Home 4 Dinner
Vero Beach, Florida
www.home4dinner.com
My Gourmet Kitchen
Chicago, Illinois
www.mygourmetkitchen.com


Selected Hosted Kitchen Sites
Former Franchisees, Now Independent
My Dinner Kitchen
formerly My Girlfriend's Kitchen
North Scottsdale, Arizona
www.mydinnerkitchen.com
Dinner A Go Go
formerly My Girlfriend's Kitchen
Wilmington, North Carolina
www.dinneragogo.com
 
Gourmet To Go Kitchen
formerly My Girlfriend's Kitchen
Lone Tree, Colorado
www.gourmettogokitchen.com
Entrees 4 U
formerly Entree Vous
Raleigh, North Carolina
www.entrees4u.com
 
EV Take and Bake
formerly Entree Vous
Leawood, Kansas
www.entreevouskc.com
Christy's Gourmet
formerly Entree Vous
Arlington, Virginia
www.christysgourmet.com
 
EV Southpoint
formerly Entree Vous
Durham, North Carolina
www.evsouthpoint.com
A la Carte Market
formerly Entree Vous
Marietta, Georgia
www.alacartemarket.com
 
Entrees, etc.
formerly Entree Vous
Greenwood, Indiana
www.entrees-etc.com
Dinner's Ready Pacific Grove
formerly Dinners ready
Pacific Grove, California
www.dinnersreadypacificgrove.com
 
Dinner's Ready Gastonia
formerly Dinners Ready
Gastonia, North Carolina
www.dinnersreadytocook.com
Donvan's Kitchen and Eatery
formerly Dinners Ready
Vancouver, Washington
www.donovanskitchen.com