The Parisian developed business, Foodles, which provides fresh, chef-prepared food to employees via a network of connected fridges, entered the UK Market at the end of Q1 and are now beginning to see steady growth be achieved.
In France, Foodles serve over 40,000 meals a week to clients in Hotels as well as in B&I. Clients include the likes of Marriott, Hyatt, Ubisoft and Veepee. It has attracted high levels of investment (over E42m since 2015) as many do see their offer as being a strong proposition for the new landscape emerging.
It always takes time for a new model to find its feet but the economic challenges do support the argument for Foodles as they seek to build growth. There are almost different arguments which are coming through for the hotel sector, for NHS healthcare organisations and for the corporate market.
The Foodles offer makes a strong statement to employees; that they are able to access freshly prepared and nutritious food styles of a high quality level 24/7.
As the well-known saying goes “knowing the value of everything does not recognise the value of what cannot be measured”. The cost of losing a front line, lower level employee today has been estimated to be anything from £25,000 to £100,000 minimum. It only requires a 2% fall in turnover rates to see the service pay of itself and that has to be the focus. Yet this is rarely analysed or understood. In this market, ensuring that employees are supported and feel that there is a focus upon them is of genuine importance.
- Hoteliers have been pleasantly surprised by the room rates which have been achieved in recent times. However, they are very conscious that they need to provide a strong service level and this needs good people and teams. With the industry having over 180,000 vacancies in the UK, the challenge is ensure that employees feel support from the hotels.
- This is seeing a shift which does now place employees and teams at the heart of planning. Employees today need to see the same care and there is work starting now to look at how staff can feel better valued. Everyone is running short of their labour requirements – by an average 10-15% – so the need is to provide stronger services internally which appeal to staff.
- Everyone today is asking for fresher and healthier food styles so kitchens are having to rethink and work harder.
- After hours service and labour are the hardest areas to recruit for and retain and also to support.
- However, overall view is that hotels need to up their game in order to attract best staff.
There has been interest expressed from the NHS and understandably so. As has been noted, there has been debate over the need to ensure that all NHS employees are able to access fresh food styles 24/7. This has historically been a problem but the Foodles offer can change this narrative.
Business & Industry
- Many organisations are concerned about the increasing costs in providing strong service levels to their teams. It has been estimated that if all did return to work, most organisations would see their budgets exceeded by 30-35%. What can be done to provide a good service level and keep costs under control?
- At the same time, many smaller organisations are arguing that it seems inappropriate to be investing in culinary teams when the office is only busy on 3 days per week. Why not reclaim kitchen space, redesign space and invest in new offers?
- All understand the argument that food service does play a key role in displaying the support of employees but this does not mean that traditional offers should not be adjusted?
- Interestingly, there are reports that many employees are working longer hours when they visit offices so how does one provide a longer and apt service level?
Many have seen Smart fridges as able to play a central role in the new landscape but the Foodles model provides the stronger argument as it is able to provide fresh, nutritional food styles prepared by chefs in a CPU and delivered in. It has a strong business case which should be explored.