Cutting down on food waste has become one of the key pillars of sustainability in domestic and professional kitchens alike. But in restaurant and catering settings where cost is also a big factor, curbing waste becomes even more important. This prompted restaurateurs Tara and Brian Beattie, owners of hospitality company Mange Tout, to develop Prepsheets, a recipe management tool aimed at chefs that maps recipes to ingredients to ensure accurate ordering and minimal waste.
The couple initially designed the system for use in their business and it has developed over time to include additional information such as allergens listings and calorie counts which are expected to be required by law at some point in the future. However, over time the system had become a bit clunky to use so the couple used the Covid lockdowns to give it a makeover and go digital. Within a few weeks of implementing the new system, Tara Beattie says Mange Tout’s costs were down by 4 per cent.
The Beatties are veterans of the hospitality sector having established their fine-dining restaurant in 1988. Since then the business has evolved into an events catering company with a chain of five cafes trading under the SI (simply Irish) banner in locations including Glasnevin Cemetery and the People’s Park in Dún Laoghaire.
Having established the benefits of Prepsheets in their own business, the Beatties saw the potential to turn the idea into a standalone product for the wider hospitality sector. They launched Prepsheets earlier this year and their target customers are obvious outlets such as restaurants, pubs, hotels and coffee shops, but also less obvious ones such as schools, colleges and care homes.
“Basically, the system will work for any professional kitchen that wants better control of its costs, portion sizes, allergen information and waste,” Tara Beattie says. “Chefs that use Prepsheets are fully aware of portion sizes, proper measurements and accurate costings. This knowledge increases kitchen efficiency while reducing food and time wasted.
“When creating a recipe and developing a menu, there are many moving parts and the space in between these parts is where hospitality businesses lose time and money,” Beattie adds. “By bringing all of these moving parts together on one platform, Prepsheets allow chefs the freedom to remain creative while also ensuring that the critical success metrics of the business are met.”
Prepsheets is based in Dublin and Beattie is now working full-time in the new business with back-up from chef husband Brian and a part-time contractor. The company has clients in the 32 counties and plans to move into the UK market in 2023. They already know their idea travels as they’ve had sign up from a chef in Canada.
Development costs for Prepsheets were in the order of €50,000 between personal funding, sweat equity and support from Enterprise Ireland. The company’s main competition comes from companies selling more expensive larger-scale systems, from Excel, and in many cases still from pen and paper.
“We’re not trying to be all things. We are simply a recipe management tool with the potential to integrate with our customers’ other systems,” Beattie says. “What makes Prepsheets different is its simplicity and connection to the ingredients. We map all recipes to the ingredient data so if there is an update to an ingredient then all recipes using that ingredient are automatically updated. The system has been built around chefs so it’s really instinctive for them to use as it’s been well tested by Brian and our team of chefs in-house.”
Prepsheets is a cloud-based system and the pricing model is SaaS. The monthly fee starts at €29.50 for up to 100 recipes. For an extra €15 a month Prepsheets will prepare EU-compliant labels, which are often expensive to buy, listing ingredients, allergens and nutrients for outlets to attach to their products.