Sodexo’s food development and innovation director, David Mulcahy, expects new technology to massively impact the way the company runs its kitchens and catering environments – with changes in consumer demand likely to influence its choice of systems.
Mr Mulcahy, who is responsible for the menu and food development team, dietitians and nutritional team at the 36,000-strong caterer, said that customisation at the point of sale means technology is playing a greater part in its operations.
“Apps and pre-ordering systems, technology that can determine people’s wellbeing (retina scanning etc) and can determine any food or beverage needs they have at that moment will be more available. Smart technology for cooking, maintaining temperatures and food quality are excellent for the fast, convenient food offers needed.”
Mr Mulcahy was speaking in an interview with the organisers of the HRC exhibition, where he will chair the judging committee at the 2020 Skills Theatre located within The Foodservice Show.
Mr Mulcahy said technology was proving highly significant in areas such as food safety and food provenance, where Sodexo has developed a more robust technical platform for end-to-end solutions.
“The menu management system ensures all recipes are fully tested, linked to allergens and any changes are immediately dealt with centrally to avoid consequences locally. Our teams are fully trained on food safety and allergens with clearer labelling, ownership by all responsible colleagues and working closely with government to support and challenge proposals for legislation. There are strong partnerships with suppliers and transparency across the supply chain to avoid any issues.”
Mr Mulcahy also identified food waste as another area where technology could be deployed to support best practice.
He advised: “Be clear to your staff about why it is important, what the benefits are and make it tangible. If people know how much something costs and can relate it back to their own wallets they will feel the need to do something about it.
“Start with simple small ideas – clear plastic bin bags, cooking in small batches, daily updates on how the team is doing against targets. Better still sign up to a waste management system such as Leanpath to measure and monitor wastage where the reduction and value of this can be seen instantly. Reward good behaviours and improvements. Make everyone feel part of the solution and success.”
The HRC Show takes place on 3-5 March at ExCel London.