A new hospitality wholesale ordering app is helping three Hawke's Bay establishments bring chefs and suppliers together at the click of a button.
HospoConnect enables cafes, bars and restaurants to digitally buy produce direct from suppliers without the hassle of paperwork.
To date, 330 restaurants and suppliers have signed up to the app nationwide, including Hawke's Bay establishments Hunger Monger, Malo and Little Black Bird café.
HospoConnect founder Ramesh Naran said the app can help hospitality outlets and suppliers through the "exceptionally tough time" caused by Covid-19.
"The app will free up time by making the food procurement process simpler, less error prone and more cost-effective," he said.
"Local suppliers, growers, producers and catchers find it challenging to approach chefs directly, yet chefs want to use them. HospoConnect solves this problem by facilitating the initial introduction online."
Fraser Slack, owner of Napier seafood restaurant Hunger Monger, said ordering fresh produce with a click of a button is a game changer.
"Having a platform to order direct from suppliers is very useful," he said. "I use it to order fish and shellfish, which is only available according to the weather day to day.
"I get a list of what's available and make an order more easily than I could over an email or voice message."
Slack added: "It's currently Wellington-focused, as that's where they developed the app, so most of the suppliers are based there. They know they need to expand in order to reach more customers nationwide."
Bert van de Steeg, the head chef at Havelock North restaurant Malo, said all the suppliers he uses are on the app.
It's a handy app. It's easy to use and once you have ordered you get a confirmation of your order," he said.
"It gives you an option to look for different suppliers and connect with them through the app."
The release of the app, which brings suppliers and chefs together in one place, follows two years of product testing, development and market validation with chefs, suppliers, producers and growers throughout New Zealand.
"HospoConnect helps suppliers communicate important updates to their chefs in a more effective and timely manner, such as product availability and seasonal changes," Naran said.
"It will make building back that resilience just a bit easier for the sector, leaving chefs with more time to cook the dishes Kiwis love, while producers supply them with the best pick of the bunch."
Hastings-based Little Black Bird café co-owner Ben Cruse said app-based ordering is "the way forward" and will change the way the industry works.
"Even as a complete technophobe I find it very simple and easy to use," he said.
"It's a great way to see what other products suppliers have and a great way to connect with new suppliers. It makes it easy to see the price of the products available, instead of having to cross reference to product lists which saves a great deal of time.
"One of the major bonuses of using it would be the elimination of mistakes that occur from leaving messages on answer machine or human error in inputting orders."
A new invoicing and transactions functionality is also due to be added in the coming months.