Marigolds & Onions, one of the leading catering and event planning businesses in Toronto, Canada, has adopted Paragon’s routing and scheduling software to meet time-critical windows for delivering fresh food for corporate, social and major sporting and charity events.

Marigolds & Onions has experienced rapid expansion since its foundation in 2011, providing catering services to a growing number of private and corporate clients. This includes being the contracted caterer for the annual Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament, serving more than 150,000 people in one week. As transport planning became increasingly complex, Marigolds & Onions recognised the need for a solution to automate this process, so after investigating the options available within the marketplace it chose Paragon.

“Timing is of paramount importance to our business. The food needs to be delivered within very tight windows and within a short period of time after the chef has finished making it. If an order is late, we’re finished,” said John Valente, Owner, Marigolds & Onions. “The Paragon team spent a lot of time understanding our business. They were the most responsive, professional people we met with and were clearly committed to delivering the best solution for both our business and customers.”

Marigolds & Onions is now using Paragon’s routing and scheduling software to calculate the most efficient routes for its 10 delivery vans that supply over 110 orders per day made up of all types of food and beverages to the Greater Toronto Area. The Paragon solution also includes Street Level Mapping which provides high levels of accuracy to the delivery plans, ensuring Marigolds & Onions’ drivers can efficiently complete drop-offs and collections in the dense, urban areas where its customers are located.

“On a typical day, Marigolds & Onions has a large number of customers who all require deliveries within a 15-minute window. If an order is late, even five minutes, the delivery has failed, because the order did not arrive within the agreed time,” explains Valente. “Using the Paragon routing and scheduling software, we have been able to add specific criteria for each client, such as specific delivery windows or detailed delivery instructions, helping us to generate feasible and efficient routes that meet contractual requirements.”

Replacing the manual process with Paragon’s routing and scheduling software has reduced the time needed for planning. It has also provided visibility and control over the transport operation which has freed up the Marigolds & Onions team to focus on delivering the high levels of customer service that the company prides itself on. The solution covers both deliveries and collections, which Marigolds & Onions had previously found difficult to manage when it was manually planning, especially during busy periods.

“The control we now have over our delivery service is vital when we are catering for large events,” explains Valente. “Before we deployed Paragon’s routing and scheduling software, we were dependent upon one individual’s knowledge of the process but now, having had their training, pretty much any trained Paragon user can handle it. We really noticed the difference during the Rogers Cup, where we have 600 staff catering for players, staff and spectators across multiple restaurants. Paragon frees up our team to focus on the complex logistics of delivering the event, while giving us the confidence that we are going to meet all of the delivery promises we have to our equally important regular customers.

Since using the solution, Marigolds & Onions has been able to increase the number of deliveries completed on each route, resulting in fuel reductions of 7 to 9 per cent and savings of between £2,500 and £3,500 per month. It has also reduced delivery labour by 20 per cent saving over £11,000 per month, and cut the use of third-party couriers by 50 per cent. The company can now also better track its catering supplies, gaining visibility of when deliveries and collections have been completed. “This has been a dream of ours for years. Now we can schedule pick-ups to keep track of all our inventory of tableware, saving us time and money,” concluded Valente.

“Paragon’s routing and scheduling software is used in 60 different countries around the world to manage many different delivery challenges, day-in, day-out. Alongside the flexibility of our software, the professionalism and knowledge of our sales consultants and implementation team is critical to the success of our customers,” said William Salter, Managing Director of Paragon Software Systems. “We are delighted to be working with Marigolds & Onions, a company that shares our commitment and passion for going the extra mile for customers.”