Artificial intelligence to the rescue of post-Covid business restoration – Reforme


Since the generalization of post-Covid teleworking, it has enabled companies to better anticipate flows that have become erratic. “At 10 a.m., if 800 people have passed their badges at the entrance to the building, the chef is notified, which allows him to adapt: ​​he puts one more dish in preparation if necessary,” Olga told AFP. Boulay, director of the Bercy Lumière restaurant, which serves the BNP Paribas and ING banks, or the ready-to-wear brand Zara, and the Ministry of the Interior, etc. Managed by Arpège, a subsidiary of the Elior group, the site employs 27 people on a “food court” where several offers copy the codes of commercial catering, fresh products prepared facing the customer. It has seen its attendance drop since the generalization of teleworking.

While 2,700 meals were served on busy pre-Covid days, attendance has since been subject to strong variations from day to day. The site now only attracts 1,100 guests on average and predicting attendance has become “a headache”, says Olga Boulay. Elior only recovered 88% of its pre-health crisis activity in corporate catering in the July-August-September 2022 quarter, while school catering and that of medical establishments were full. As for Arpège, its high-end brand whose customers are the headquarters of companies in the tertiary sector in Île-de-France, it was strongly affected.

“We have a very strong drop in activity on Fridays: it can drop to 20% of that on other days. Some are thinking about closing the buildings on Fridays, especially since with the sobriety plan, cutting off the electricity on Thursday evenings is more interesting than distributing the days of teleworking”, says Frédéric Galliath general manager of the business market of Elior France . However, in a context of inflation in the cost of raw materials, reducing waste has become crucial: by anticipating flows, for the past one to two years, this artificial intelligence, developed in-house, has made it possible to throw away less.

“225,000 meals saved”

For this, it takes into account “periods of leave, work or strikes in transport, religious holidayss or local like the Bayonne festivals or the Dunkirk carnival for which people ask for days, sales because if there are shops around people will take a sandwich to go shopping at noon… every evening, we recalculate our forecasts”explains to AFP Arnaud Le Bris, director of digital innovation at Elior.

Also, artificial intelligence “refines the forecasts for each restaurant, according to the company’s HR policy, by recording the number of days of RTT, telework, etc. Information transmitted by the employee’s badge and anonymized, which enriches the predictive model”, details Arnaud Le Bris. Some 350 site managers in France – Italy and Spain will soon follow – receive these forecasts, which help them adjust portions and therefore supplies, making it possible to reduce losses: 225,000 meals are saved over one year.

“Reduce waste”

Competitor Sodexo has also taken this turn, because “to have a positive, economic, social and environmental impact” was “in the mission of Sodexo at the time of its creation” in 1966, says Alexandra Serizay, its tech and services director: “We must reduce our carbon impact and therefore waste”. After “just over a year” work, she says, this data management provides for the moment “an almost real-time view of traffic to 70 sites in France”. But “the objective is to deploy it on 200 to 300 additional sites in two years”. The data also helps to better understand “the consumer’s purchasing behavior, in order to offer them suitable offers“, says Alexandra Serizay.

Artificial intelligence also makes it possible to make the checkout process more fluid – artificial intelligence scans the composition of the tray and determines its price -, to pre-order your take-out meal and to provide information on meals: nutriscore (at Elior), origin and nutritional quality, allergens, etc.

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Artificial intelligence to the rescue of post-Covid business restoration – Reforme

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