On the up · 17 August 2016

Spoonfed: Taking pressure off catering firms with a lot on their plate

Spoonfed co-founders Murray McNicol and Willie Biggart
Spoonfed co-founders Murray McNicol and Willie Biggart

Software platform Spoonfed takes the challenge out of corporate catering by offering smaller caterers greater control of their business, via an end-to-end online management system.

Now in its second year, Spoonfed’s co-founder Murray McNicol dished the dirt to Business Advice, revealing the progress his young company has made.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

I’m Murray McNicol, the co-founder of Spoonfed – an online catering management software provider.

(2) How long have you been around for?

The Spoonfed platform was launched in the UK in 2013 and internationally in 2015.

(3) How do you make money?

Spoonfed is a software-as-service platform. We charge customers monthly for access to the system based on the volume of transactions processed and the number of customer sites operated.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

For many customers, corporate or hospitality catering is not their main activity. This means that often it has been neglected in terms of systems and focus, which results in inefficiency.

My co-founder Willie Biggart and I owned a corporate catering business before launching Spoonfed, so we have built our software based on experience and knowledge of the difficulties of running that type of business.

Spoonfed is an end-to-end system that eradicates problems, enabling the caterer to be in control and grow their business.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

Knowing that we could solve real problems provided impetus to work through the inevitable startup hurdles. We also had access to a first-class software development team as well as talented creatives to help establish a great brand.

(6)   What’s your biggest achievement to date? 

Real satisfaction comes from each customer that says we’ve made their business better and made a difference to their life.  Outside of that, it has to be our first significant customer in the US – a highly rated sandwich chain in Manhattan.

(7)   What setbacks have you had along the way?

We’ve had more frustrations rather than setbacks. The time and effort needed to raise investment takes focus away from developing the business. Also, navigating the decision-making processes of large corporates can be time consuming.

(8)   In five years’ time, I will be…

Delegating more but still enjoying the challenge of building Spoonfed into a global leader in our chosen markets.

(9)   What one tip would you give to others starting out?

In software, solve a real world problem but plan on everything taking twice as long as you think – and ensure you have the funding to cope with that.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?  

I’m a chartered accountant by trade and have always admired Sir Brian Souter, who is an entrepreneurial accountant without equal in the UK. He not only built Stagecoach into a leading company but also successfully invested in many other businesses and worked without fanfare through his charitable foundation.

Meet the Bristol yoga studio selling ethical leggings made from recycled plastic bottles. 

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.