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Elior - Boosting Corporate Productivity Through Food

Kathryn BK

Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 16:21 Hrs  [IST]



Today companies in India increasingly view food as a critical employee value proposition (EVP) with the intent to alleviate rising stress levels and increase productivity. Godrej is one among those companies and has a one-of-its-kind food court and a café set up for the employees. The food court is operated by Elior, one of the world’s leading premium corporate food services companies and a subsidiary of the France-based USD 6.5 bn Elior Group.

Godrej partnered with Megabyte which was acquired by Elior later. Chef David Raj, Managing Partner - Culinary Development, Elior West Catering LLP, one of the owners of Megabyte and also looks after the food court at Godrej in Mumbai.

Chef Raj started his career with Taj after finishing hotel management and got trained across almost all the cuisines there. Then he moved to Abu Dhabi and started working at Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. Chef learnt the cooking techniques of exotic meals in Abu Dhabi.

After 2002, Chef Raj came back to India for the pre-opening of the Hyatt property in Goa. Chef says, “Hyatt being a trendsetter in the F&B circle, it was a great experience and a learning period for me in my career.”

Chef Raj then Chef Raj then worked for Grand Hyatt Mumbai as a Banquet Chef and then got an opportunity to go to Bengaluru and work for The Leela. It was while working for The Leela, Chef Raj along with his other two partners thought of starting a new venture. This is how Megabyte was born and then acquired by Elior.

“Elior came into India and they wanted the right partner. We also found Elior as a right partner for us. It helps us to grow in a way we want to. I could wear my chef coat again after merging with Elior,” says Chef Raj.

When it came to business, Elior was focused in Bengaluru. Top 10 corporates buy food for their employees from Elior. A lot of these companies do outdoor catering and Elior have been able to replace hotels in this segment.

Godrej came into the picture when Elior thought of expanding to other cities. Godrej was invited to Bengaluru where Elior showcased their catering, service, facilities etc. Godrej team was impressed by Elior and they collaborated in the year 2015. “We started with Godrej Café which was exclusively for Godrej and we opened this café in December 2016, it’s a food court area, which is a common dining area where Godrej employees won’t get a subsidised price. Any visitors coming to visit Godrej office can come and dine over here, outsiders too are allowed to dine here,” says Chef Raj.



Godrej food court has two kitchens and Chef Raj heads it along with another Chef who handles the operations. There 30 to 40 chefs working under him. In total there are about 120 staff. Food court and cafeteria have two different teams. The menu is planned a week before. Chef Raj gets involved more in the food court as compared to cafeteria as it has an open kitchen and its open to outsiders.

Food court has various sections – south Indian, north Indian, vegetarian/ non-vegetarian, juice bar, Asian kitchen, western kitchen etc. Every section has got its own components and these are pre-decided and based on this the menu is planned.

 





Ajay Bhatt,
Head - Administration & Facilities,
Godrej Industries Limited

Q Megabyte was predominant in the south, what made you consider them?
There were various options which Godrej was trying to explore initially. Someone from one of our corporate office recommended Megabyte which has done lot of catering work down south, specially Bengaluru. So we decided to find out what it is all about. We got to know that they are operating Google, CISCO, etc. so we tried to explore them and we visited their facilities, their central kitchen. The best part was that Megabyte was run by F&B professionals. After seeing the facilities, kitchen and the management approach they had, we decided to go with them. Certain food tasting thing and all was done and their strength being corporate catering we chose them.

Q The kind of facility that you have given your employees here is first of its kind so, what made you come up with this?
Godrej is known as a very employee friendly organisation. We always treat employees first and then everything else comes. Going by the principles of Godrej, we always had in mind that the facilities that we are going to give our employees would be something different and would have a very different feel. We have lot of youngsters in our staff. So we have food court and Starbucks. We thought of having an engagement of employees in terms of food, casual meetings. So that was the concept we had in mind.

Q Mumbai is predominant with the dabbawallas. Here you are restraining that practice so, what do you think is the reason for employees to choose food provided here over dabbas?
People get dabbas because they want to eat food which is healthy, where food is cooked from a fresh ingredient, hygiene is maintained and so employees want dabbas. But, what if that food is provided here? So that has made a lot of difference. When we started, there was about 30-40% who used to get their own dabbas and now this has come down to 10-15%. This change has come due to various options available, hygiene, pricing is good and the food is also good.

 
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