Opinion

An app-solute must-have

Burkart Schmid | Editor-in-Chief | Burkart.Schmid@dfv.de
TW.Klein
Burkart Schmid | Editor-in-Chief | Burkart.Schmid@dfv.de

Personally, in the last three and a half decades of my editorial work, nothing has influenced my day-to-day work more than the advancing digitalization.

On the other hand, the permanent availability of information for decision-makers means that a monthly title editorial team such as gv-praxis works almost around the clock as a news editorial team - for our online platform FOOD SERVICE. The current figures with up to 160,000 users per month show the importance this information channel now has for the entire out-of-home market. Corona has also led to a rapid acceleration of digitalisation in our industry.

The pressure to change is enormous. Whether it's guest communication in social media, process control or new business models - everyone has made a digital leap forward. Only with apps, homepages or online menus are we able to retain our guest who is absent for several days or weeks, to inform them and to meet their changing demands, to serve or supply them. In the future, "low-contact" solutions will be more and more in demand.

New digital beacons are emerging

The example of the online canteen of we celebrate shows how dynamically digitalization can work. Currently, the vending market is also benefiting from the permanent crisis and has long been a new playground for start-ups, as the digitalized "mini-bistros" in the Munich Clinic network show. The fully automated and digitized store concept Typy in Düsseldorf's Medienhafen is also a digital beacon that shows how self-service will function in the future. Other providers such as Selecta are following suit with their 24/7 Micro Markets. Whether self-service checkouts, self-service terminals or individual guest information via mobile phone - digital solutions are gaining momentum.

For example, the caterer Sodexo is currently testing the use of artificial intelligence at the checkout in China. The technology recognizes dishes and meals using self-learning camera software. This is used to calculate prices and control payment transactions with cards via mobile terminals. In the latest Digital Talk, Sodexo CEO Andreas Kowalski puts it in a nutshell: "We have to design the workplace of the future now." The focus of all conceptual approaches is the guest with his or her wishes. The challenge is to reach him at the workplace, outside, in the restaurant and also at home - combined with benefit systems for on the go, says Kowalski. His credo: "Company catering will come back, but definitely differently than we know it so far."

Onsite and offsite coexist

As for the new gastronomic world, we will have to get used to the fact that there will be a coexistence of onsite and offsite. Onsite gastronomy stands for enjoyment, experience and the social component in the employee restaurant. Offsite gast ronomy takes care of offsite consumption offerings, whether takeaway or delivery. Whether fine dining or canteen, the industry is inventing new delivery and distribution structures. Digitization plays a central role in both business segments. So it's high time for the movers and shakers in the industry to quickly capitalize on the trust they've earned over the years with new creative formats. The digital all-round carefree package of our industry is no longer a gimmick, but an absolute must for the new tasks.
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