back to listings SME Profile: Fretwell-Downing Hospitality

Fretwell-Downing Hospitality

Floor 1, Unit 1 Hawke Street Industrial Estate
Hawke Street
Sheffield S9 2SU

General enquiries: +44(0) 114 281 6060
Aftersales support: +44(0) 114 281 6062
Fax: +44(0) 114 281 6061


About Us

Since 1924, we’ve been passionate about catering. With over 200 years combined experience in software design and a wealth of knowledge, the Fretwell Downing Hospitality team brings you the market leading software, Saffron.

Our passion and knowledge enables us to continue to develop Saffron to support the demands you face  in the hospitality industry, whatever your sector. Home grown and still based in Sheffield, we’re proud to be supporting catering operations worldwide; including customers here in the UK and as far afield as the Middle East.

We pride ourselves on knowing the hospitality and software industries inside and out. And  we apply this knowledge and proficiency in everything we do, every time.

In 1924,  Mr Francis Fretwell-Downing opened his first bakery on Rustlings Road, Sheffield.

Over the years, Mr Fretwell-Downing’s drive and determination saw him go from a small bakery in Sheffield to catering for the likes of Winston Churchill and Her Majesty the Queen at events all over the UK. During the 1970’s, the Fretwell-Downing family diversified into computing and by 1984, the company’s first catering computer system had been installed.

1997 saw Fretwell-Downing Hospitality established as an independent IT company and three years later, Saffron was launched as the market leading solution. Today, the Fretwell-Downing family are still involved in catering events; provided from their boutique hotel, The Maynard Arms set in the heart of the peak district.



Whatever the solution you are looking for, we can help. From analysis of costs and business performance, to the provision of nutritional information – Saffron is tried and tested; and is sure to be able to help you improve your business.

We’re highly experienced providers of products and solutions to the hospitality industry. You can find more on our range of products and solutions below. Click on the links for further information


Saffron Allergen Web Portal

Saffron Connect

A complete catering management solution, this leading software is designed to support you in all aspects of your back office processes and can be tailored to individual business needs.

The Saffron Allergen Web Portal, is a customer facing webpage, displaying the real-time nutritional and allergen profiles of everything you serve, supporting the compliance of the Food Information Regulations.

This handheld barcode reader is designed to work in association with your Saffron catering management solution and will streamline your stock taking process making it quick, easy whilst reducing the risk of human error.

Saffron Patient Ordering

Saffron Care Catering

Saffron Central

Designed specifically for the healthcare sector, this handheld bedside ordering solution will improve efficiency and your patient experience.

Saffron Care Catering has been designed to streamline the disjointed meal ordering process found in care settings. Designed to ensure caterers are able to meet each residents individuals needs whether that be nutritional, supplements, diet type or just based on what they like or dislike.

Saffron Central has been designed specifically for multi-outlet retail caterers operating from a Central Production Unit who require the support of a system to track, cost and manage their menu offering, production and delivery challenges.



Saffron is such a versatile solution that it is used widely throughout the Hospitality industry. Whatever catering background you’re from Saffron will help keep you in control of your business.

Retail – Restaurants, Pubs, Hotels, Bars, Clubs, Cafes, Deli’s – whether you’re a single outlet or a large chain, Saffron can be tailored to suit you.

Leisure – Theme Parks, Event Catering, Sporting Arenas, Stadiums, Cinemas, Racecourses – Saffron is suitable for any leisure outlet with Catering facilities.

Local Authority – Schools, Civic Venues, Sporting Stadia, Staff dining facilities and Social Care – Used widely throughout Local Authorities in the UK already, see how it can help within your Local Authority.

Education – Academies, Private schools, Colleges, Universities – Catering for the next generation is an important task, let Saffron help.

Healthcare – Care Homes, Private Hospitals, NHS Trusts, Day Centres – Eating well is vital on the road to recovery, Saffron can assist in serving patients with healthy balanced meals.

Contract Catering – Workplace Catering, Facilities Management – Managing large multi-site Catering operations doesn’t need to be complex with Saffron.

Defence – Armed Forces Catering – Our specialist Armed Forces Catering Management System TRICAT is currently being used by the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the British Army.

Don’t see your business listed above’ No problem, call us today on +44 (0) 114 281 6060 to speak to one of the team and see that Saffron will be able to help you. Alternatively complete our quick software enquiry form below to request a demonstration.


Advice Centre

Your Challenge

Food Management

Stock Control




Your Sector




Local Authority



Saffron is a web based Catering Management solution meaning it can be used by caterers, literally anywhere in the world. All that is needed to access Saffron is an internet connection; with no need for software installation, getting up and running on Saffron doesn’t have to be a logistical nightmare.

We already have users all over the globe, including South Africa, Japan and New Zealand. Take a look at our UKWEZA case study to see how we delivered Saffron to UKWEZA – a contract Catering Company delivering to hospitals throughout South Africa. This project was managed and implemented from our UK based offices, with each aspect up to project launch being delivered over the internet.

This web based approach to Saffron is also known as ‘SaaS’ or ‘Software as a Service’ with all the key benefits of Saffron along with:

  • Availability – SaaS applications are available from any computer or any device, anytime, anywhere, enabling you to roll out over a large geographical area.
  • Lower Initial Costs – SaaS applications are subscription based. No license fees mean lower initial costs. By FDH managing the IT infrastructure you will experience lower IT costs for hardware, software, and the administration costs.
  • Painless Upgrades ‘ FDH will manage all updates and upgrades, meaning no need for downloads or ongoing installations. As user base grows, there will be no need for further installations.

Getting all of the benefits of Saffron is as easy internationally as it is in the UK. Ring to speak to one of the team to see how you can sign up to Saffron no matter where you are based +44(0) 114 281 6060.


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