For decades, two-way radio has been used by catering and hospitality operations as a front-line communications tool.
Across restaurants, hotels, outside catering and prepared food services, having a mobile, flexible and reliable means of keeping colleagues in touch helps to improve operational efficiency and ensure the highest standards are maintained.
Over the past 40 years, Brentwood Communications has worked extensively with the catering industry to provide the very best two way radio solutions for their needs. Brentwood Communications have worked with everyone from global airline and airport caterers Gate Gourmet on their enormous Heathrow operations, to celebrity event caterers Cellar Society on a Star Wars film premiere.
Whether it is high volume food service or one-off events, catering has a number of specific communications requirements which in turn create specific demands on two way radio systems. Over the years, we have seen two way radio evolve significantly, the choice of models grow and the number of features available multiply.
With so much choice now available, what should a catering business look for in its two way radio solutions? Here are our top tips for making sure your two way system caters for all your needs.
Opt for lightweight and compact
Catering is a fast-paced business where staff work on their feet and mobility is a necessity for delivering good service. Having a means of keeping everyone in touch is important for coordinating operations effectively, but the last thing staff need is to be carrying around large, chunky handsets that get in their way as they work.
Nowadays, many two way radio models are built with portability in mind. Slimline, lightweight handsets are easy to clip to belts or clothing and comfortable to carry, making them ideal for long shifts on your feet.
Consider hands-free options
Waiting staff carrying trays of food or food prep operatives wearing gloves do not want to have to press a button on a two way radio handset every two minutes to respond to a call. As an alternative to the normal push-to-talk function most two way radios use, many nowadays offer VOX, or voice activation, which means staff can respond to messages without touching their handset.
Similarly, there are numerous hands-free accessories available to supplement handsets, including ear-pieces, speaker and microphone headsets, and Bluetooth kits.
Weigh up the experience of users
The very latest digital two way radios come packed with a large range of advanced features which can add value in all sorts of ways. But the flipside of this is, the more sophisticated the handset, the more practice and experience it takes to be comfortable using it.
Perhaps the first question any catering business should ask itself is - what do I really need from my communications? For outside caterers, for example, you may well conclude that all you really need is reliable voice transmission on the night. If you also hire in agency staff for each event and cannot be sure how much experience they have with two way radio, don't risk burdening them with too many advanced features. Opt for a simple, straightforward model that can be used straight out of the box.
Don't forget about hygiene!
Two way radio manufacturers are in tune with the needs of different industries and produce models with particular sectors in mind. When you are looking into two way radio options, ask about models which come with an anti-microbial coating on their chassis. These are manufactured specifically with food handling operations in mind, helping you to control the spread of germs that can be passed around through contact with equipment.