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Foodservice Cateys 2018: Innovation Award – Elior UK

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Foodservice Cateys 2018: Innovation Award – Elior UK

Sponsored by Amadeus

The introduction of an innovative concept in business is hard enough, but one that also provides a service and health benefits to the customer is very rare indeed.

The trend of ultra-personalisation is not in itself new, but the ground-breaking technology partnership between Elior and tech start-up Vita Mojo definitely is.
Elior was first attracted to Vita Mojo, which is a restaurant chain as well as a developer, when the startup was looking for seed funding to develop its technology. Its system gives customers the ability to order tailor-made meals at the swipe of a finger.

Elior was one of Vita Mojo’s early investors – the company raised £1.5m in crowdfunding in 24 hours. But Elior did more than just invest in the company; it took its founders under its wing and worked closely with them to develop different offers across multiple sites – from the traditional B&I (business and industry) sector right through to leisure facilities such as Virgin Active gyms.

Elior piloted the Vita Mojo concept at one of its high-profile city sites. It exceeded all expectations, driving 20% of all main meal sales, increasing spend per head by 30% and winning such flattering customer feedback as “never seen anything like it!”.

Customers can use an app, website or in-restaurant iPad to order a meal that is tailored to suit their specific nutritional needs. They then simply pick up their made-to-order meal from a dedicated collection point.

Customers can build their own dish from scratch or customise existing menu items. As well as specifying how much protein, carbohydrate or fat their meal should contain, customers can decide how much of each ingredient should be used in their dish – and eliminate entirely those that they don’t want.

Vita Mojo users can even submit their DNA samples to identify the foods they should eat more or less of. Judge Julia Sibley pointed out that the concept would also help keep food waste to an absolute minimum.

The Vita Mojo technology is now being white-labelled and rolled out at other Elior sites across the foodservice company’s entire food offer. Elior’s adaptation of it is an excellent example of the contract caterer’s ability to spot trends early on and develop them into practical foodservice concepts.

The judges were unanimous in their praise for Elior’s investment and foresight, and through its intervention to enable a much-needed innovation to enter the sector.

What the judges said
“This goes well beyond available technology in the sector. A true joint venture between Elior and Vita Mojo.”
John Nugent, chief executive, Green & Fortune

“Supporting a startup business in order to merge the trends of technology, health and customisation is both honourable and clever.”
Tim Axe, commercial director, Benugo

“This innovation is ahead of an emerging trend where people are increasingly invested in making choices about what they eat for a multitude of reasons. It’s a great concept.”
Alison Gray, HR director, Delaware North Companies

“It’s a very good idea, one that could have potential in B&I, in education and in the Ministry of Defence. It would also be a way of competing against Deliveroo.”
Julia Sibley, chief executive, Savoy Educational Trust


Shortlist
Derbyshire County Council
Elior UK
Searcys

Past winners
2017 Derbyshire County Council
2016 ISS Food and Hospitality
2015 Andy Jones ISS Healthcare and the Hospital Caterers Association
2014 The Genuine Dining Co

2019 Acorn Scholarship open for entries: nominate your high-achiever now!

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