The future of mobile food concepts and digitisation in contract catering

qnips meets Dussmann Catering

The last one and a half years have once again rapidly accelerated the digitalisation of the catering industry. Many contract caterers have had to react to the changing demand of guests with new concepts and ideas. We spoke with our client and partner Mr. Michael Milde about how he and his team at Dussmann Service Deutschland GmbH have responded to these changes and what his prospects are for the future of the catering industry.

Mr. Milde, you are the head of the Competence Center Experts Catering at Dussmann Service Deutschland GmbH. Please briefly introduce yourself and Dussmann Service’s activities in catering:

“My name is Michael Milde and I am 43 years old. I am originally a trained chef and have held several management positions in catering at Dussmann Service since 2013. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to get to know and accompany Dussmann Service’s international catering offer. We see ourselves as an in-house service provider and driver for process optimisation, product development and further development of (customer-specific) tools.”

For just under a year and a half, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the catering industry. What changes have you noticed specifically, also with regard to the digitisation of the industry?

“The biggest advantage for our guests in contract catering is that they can get something to eat quickly and without much effort while they are at work. Since many company restaurants had to be closed due to Covid-19 and work will probably increasingly be done in the home office in the future, the question arises as to how the food gets to the customer. The demand for mobile catering solutions has risen sharply in the meantime. Therefore, offers that reduce contacts and waiting times have been successfully digitalised. For example, pre-ordering and payment via app or smart pick-up solutions.”

What specific measures has Dussmann Service taken in the last one and a half years to address these changes?

“We have tested and introduced mobile food concepts. These include, for example, smart fridges filled with fresh and popular products for self-service. The “Smart Fridge” automatically recognises which products have been taken out. Payment is made via app, without a cash register or staff. We also offer popular dishes as a to-go option in sustainable jars, so that guests can also enjoy their favourite food at home.”

“In terms of communication, we are increasingly using digital interaction with our guests to stay in touch with them. We just launched our new series “Knowledge Morsel”, which provides background information on seasonal foods and their contribution to a healthy lifestyle: Read more. We also use the qnips app and digital signage monitors in the restaurants as channels.”

Dussmann has been cooperating with the software developer qnips for several years. This cooperation has already resulted in the launch of the Delightful app. How did the decision for the qnips system come about and what do you benefit from most?

“We had high requirements for a digital meal plan display. All relevant data must be available quickly, flexibly and individually and must be able to be displayed in a visually appealing way on different end devices. At the same time, the system must not unnecessarily tie up resources in operations during regular operation. qnips met these requirements best. We benefit most from the individual functions that can be switched on and off for each location and the high degree of autonomy of the data flow in regular operation.”

What features and benefits do you currently offer your table guests by using the Delightful app?

“We use all available modules, individually adapted to the needs of the respective customer. In the app and on the catering portal, we clearly display our dishes with all relevant information. These include nutritional values, CO2 balance, allergens and additives as well as current photos. This photo function is integrated in such a way that our teams on site can easily photograph dishes with their mobile phones. This way, the customer does not see a deceptive package, but the actual meal.”

“With the digital signage players, we can individually control and display our meals and graphically prepared content on displays and screens. We answer the still well-demanded function of the printable meal plan with the help of PDF-Templates. The pre-order and payment function allow us to satisfy the rapidly growing demand for mobile catering solutions. And with the automatic translation function, we relieve the operational staff on site.”

Are there already other projects planned in cooperation with qnips?

“Yes, we have some smaller functional extensions and also larger projects and ideas that we are pursuing together with qnips.”

What do you think the future holds for the catering industry in terms of digitisation and what specific goals are you and your team pursuing?

“Digitisation is successful when existing processes are simplified in the long term or new functions offer real added value for the customer. The main task of catering is to make catering easily available for everyone and to take care of the necessary processes in the environment. This also includes picking up employees and training them in the use of new software.”

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Dussmann Service recently opened “FoodBreak 20” in Hanover. What is the concept behind the store, what can clients expect on site and which qnips technologies are you using?

“The “Foodbreak 20″ in Hanover, which opened in mid-June, is both a production location and a company restaurant for lunch breaks. Menus are freshly cooked on site and delivered to kindergartens. However, meals are also offered in the cook & chill/freeze process, so that deliveries over further distances are possible.”

“Guests can choose from three lunch menus daily between 11:30 and 13:30. The “Heimatliebe” menu stands for regional and national dishes, exclusively with meat from the Hanover region and seasonal vegetables from local producers. The vegetarian line “Gartenglück” also scores with regional products, and the menu “Reiselust” includes international dishes. In addition, there is a wide range of snacks such as sandwiches made from homemade bread, sandwiches, salads and desserts. Coffee lovers will also get their money’s worth with products from the Hanover-based roasting company Machwitz. The “Foodbreak 20″ uses digital signage monitors, the Dussmann Delightful app and a digital info terminal to display menus and entertaining content on the topic of wholesome and sustainable catering.”

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and for your assessment of the current situation and future for the catering industry!

qnips GmbH

The qnips system helps contract caterers to improve the customer experience at each location. This is done with the help of modern online & mobile communication channels. The qnips system combines features such as online pre-ordering, mobile payment, customer loyalty and content management in a modular solution for app, web and digital signage. As an interface to various merchandise management and cash register systems, the qnips platform can be flexibly adapted to your needs. We believe that customised services and usability are the key for our customers to increase customer satisfaction, develop new revenue streams and optimise the use of resources. Learn more.

Can we also support you with our qnips platform for the digitisation of contract catering or do you have questions about further features from qnips? Then get in contact with us today. We take questions and appointments via or via +49 511 165 899 0. 

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