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Digital comes to the table

Digital comes to the table

With the rising use of social media, smartphones, 4G and mobile apps, the catering industry is going digital and everyday practices are changing, both for operators and customers.

Published in March 2017

Digital technology is now an essential aspect of break times and an increasing number of guests expect it to enhance their dining experience by providing them with more information, shorter waiting times, bespoke orders and other services. For Elior Group, it goes without saying that we intend to keep on innovating and participating in the digital revolution.

2016 saw an explosion of new apps and on-line services for meal deliveries. Restaurants are increasingly going beyond their own walls and delivering to people’s homes, college campuses and corporate meeting rooms. As a major participant in this new trend, Elior Group is actively partnering new foodtech companies such as Foodles, PopChef and Vitalista.

10 billion

In 2015, 10 billion euros were invested in foodtech start-ups worldwide.

Foodtech is not by any means limited to the meal deliveries sector. It encompasses all the digital initiatives and technologies that help enhance the food value chain. Emerging foodtech start-ups are full of talent and buzzing with ideas for areas such as encouraging short supply chains, supporting new production methods, combating food waste and promoting the shared economy. Keenly aware of these companies’ potential, Elior Group scouts them out and then supports and helps promote them.

Backed either by mentoring or acquisition of an ownership interest, those start-ups are given the opportunity of experimenting with their creations in the restaurants Elior Group manages so they can put their ideas to the test in real-world conditions. For the group, partnering these young start-ups (both external and internal) means contributing to the development of an ecosystem that will benefit the entire catering industry.

"We offer an autonomous – not automated – catering system."

Michaël Ormancey, co-founder of Foodles

Digital innovation should be used to enhance both service quality and the user experience. Elior Group is putting this commitment into practice by incorporating into its offerings the innovative concepts designed by its foodtech partners, such as Foodles' high-tech refrigerators or the Never Eat Alone app, as well as other cutting-edge solutions devised and developed in-house. In all of businesses and operating regions a range of new practices are emerging, including pre-ordering online or via mobile apps, using self-order kiosks and paying digitally or online.

Digital technology also enables catering operators to provide more information on their food offerings, which helps guests eat in a healthy, balanced way. At the same time, it is also having an impact that goes beyond the dining experience – it has become the best way of increasing interaction with customers. The Wiiish app, for instance, which will be rolled out at Paris Gare du Nord station in France (Europe's largest railway station) in 2017, will enable customers to interact with the catering concepts proposed at the station before, during and after their visit.

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