ISSUE #68 – Johnpaul Dimech (pictured below), Region Chair, Asia Pacific, Sodexo, talks about the new Sodexo APAC House in Singapore and how the company designs its services with the end-consumer in mind.
Congratulations on the opening of the new Sodexo APAC House! How has the customer experience been enhanced?
Thank you! The new Sodexo Asia Pacific House represents our collective efforts in improving the Quality of Life for everyone, starting with our own employees. The workspace was designed with input from employees who work here and contains different spaces to support all working styles. At the same time, the APAC House showcases some of the most advanced and thoughtful solutions we can bring to consumers.
Let’s start with Smart Chef, our RFID food kiosk that allows staff and our guests easy access to fresh, healthy meals if they wish to dine in. All you need to do is to install a mobile app to peruse the menu, unlock the fridge and make your purchase online. There’s no need for cumbersome product scanning – simply grab and go.
Another point of pride is ASPRETTO, our in-house sustainable café that serves fair trade coffee and tea products that support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Proceeds earned here go towards Stop Hunger, Sodexo’s non-profit to fight hunger and malnutrition. This is a food and beverage concept that increasingly resonates with socially conscious adults.
Plus, we have put in place a comprehensive suite of smart innovations to improve comfort and energy savings. Our integrated platform links up over 200 sensors in the office to provide intelligent insights, drive automated actions and trigger alerts for intervention. Our sensors are programmed to monitor temperature, air quality and humidity among other comfort trackers. For instance, our air-conditioning is set to an optimum temperature of 24 deg C; any variations to this set point will trigger an auto-correction without human intervention.
Additionally, we have put in place flexible work arrangements to allow our co-workers to improve work-life balance, and incorporated a myriad of spaces from quiet think pods to vibrant social spaces to support all working styles.
Sodexo APAC House
You are working with schools, universities, companies. Although B2B, why is it important for Sodexo to start from a customer point of view?
Whenever we receive a brief, we always start by asking, “how do we improve the customers’ Quality of Life?” This is not always a straightforward answer because we have many stakeholders in the equation. While we strive to enhance the wellbeing of the end-consumer, we have to ensure that the solutions proposed also enhance the wellbeing of our clients – we have to design win-win solutions.
But indeed, thinking from a customer’s point of view is step one. A good example to bring up is our executive food offering for INSEAD’s Asia Campus. Rather than college-age students, the consumers there are high-performing executives from all over the world, with busy schedules and discerning needs. We designed our food concepts to fit naturally into their MBA student journey and offered a variety like a café serving artisanal brews and fresh pastries – it turns into a bar after hours – and a central dining hall with multi-cultural cuisines and more.
Also, at Yale-NUS College, we customised our solution to offer sustainability – the students voted in preference of Sodexo because of our strength in this area. We source our ingredients responsibly, minimise the use of disposable single-use utensils and actively engage the students in reducing food waste with our WasteWatch programme, which digitally monitors pre- and post-consumer waste. Sites that implement WasteWatch can potentially reduce up to 45% of food waste in six months. All these are in line with the new generation’s social aspirations.
How do you see the food services domain further transform in this near future?
Digital innovation will continue to drive new changes in food services. Currently, Sodexo has used technology very effectively in reducing food waste (even among consumers) and improving kitchen safety. Newer technologies like our Smart Chef RFID fridge will become more commonplace in the food and beverage scene. Artificial intelligence will also start playing a bigger role in all our transactions. In China, we recently invested in a tech company AEYE-GO that designed the world’s first image-recognition checkout system – this is definitely something to watch in the near future.
See also: Discover French shopping, dining & lifestyle in Singapore on So Chic
Interview with Johnpaul Dimech, Region Chair, Asia Pacific, Sodexo
Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #1 2019 “The Consumer Journey Issue”