In Europe, almost half of the meal consumed out of home are industrial catering. In France, it represents 384 billions of lunches every year. Today 3 main big companies control this industry: the Britannic Compass Group, the French Sodexo and Elior.
However, in industrial catering, the food quality has been criticized a lot and now customers are involved in societal and environmental issues.
Furthermore, institutional catering is turning to digital. To stay competitive, the main companies must follow this trend.
Why should they digitalize?
● Enabling workers to look at the menu before and its composition (for allergic persons) ● recharge their badges ● enhance services proposed to customers
● Create customers’ loyalty
● Collect feedbacks.
New technologies are now meddling in institutional catering. Easier, cheaper, more powerful, more complete tools are taking the lead to answer customer’s habits. Consequently, major companies have invested in this field.
Last year, Sodexo has launched its new application “MySodexo”. The app enable customers to have access to the menu, recharge their badge through the app or with a text message, book a table for guests or collaborators in a private room.
Compass France has developed “MyBenefits” platform which enable employees to access to economic information, company’s animation, cook’s tips, or localization option, on their phone, tablet or computer. the group has also developed the connected coffee: every time an employee uses his badge at the entrance, the coffee machine starts and prepares the espresso. this enable to decrease the queue in the cafeteria in the morning, so to avoid waste of time.
In the meantime, Elior decided to be involved in digital transformation but from another perspective. The group has invested in French start-ups, such as “Touch And Play” which develops digital tools for points of sale. It has, also, founded an innovative food platform “Smartfood”, in collaboration with Carrefour, UP Group and Danone. The aim of the platform is to perpetuate French reputation in terms of leadership in food industry and gastronomy. Finally, created “BonApp” dedicated to school canteens. this app enable parents to have online access to the menus, to identify products’ quality with the help of pictogram, to manage their child inscription to the canteen and to pay bills. Indeed, Elior stands out from its competitors by implement digital transformation in the global food industry.
To face the issue of industrial catering in canteens, BETC (a 900-employee Paris-based advertising agency) launched in April 2017, its own canteen. They created their own team called “BETC Kitchen”; every meal is homemade by different chefs every week with organic products.
However, this project could only be possible with digital innovation. With the help of BETC digital department, the company created an app with the help of the French food-tech start-ups as “Cashpad”, “Pay-my-table” and “Actitouch”. The app enables employees to order the food directly, pay with the app, recharge the account with it; in the meantime, the kitchen team can modify the menu every day and precise when a plate is sold out instantly. They can now offer a complete and tasty lunch to 700 employees every day, as a real restaurant but quicker. Furthermore, on the app, you can also book a meeting room, find your colleagues, and have access to every internal information needed.
For industrial catering companies, new technologies represent a big advantage for the maintenance, stock control and the information supplied to partners. Companies can then easily identify and understand their target and enhance big data.
In a more global point of view, digital has a role in people’s alimentation. The main target is the persons who have less than 40 years old, highly educated with children and has an urban way of life. Through digital, customers can have access to different information, in advance or earlier unknown, as economic accessibility, food quality guaranteed and products likely to be allergic to: this information which, today, is very important for the target seeking for a more transparency from companies.
As time spent in the office by employees is diminishing significantly and have less time to waste on food, the “click & collect” is increasing drastically in France. In 2010, there were only 59 stores proposing this service. In 2016, 4 025 sites are now using the “click & collect”. But, what if canteens could propose to their customers to order their menu in advance and take it to eat out of work or at their desk?