To invent the catering model of the future, Elior Group sets up a laboratory for ideation and experimentation

Visuel LAB

Recourse to digital technology is one of the eight key projects identified by Elior Group Chairman and CEO Philippe Salle in the 2016-2020 strategic plan. As part of its strategy to invent the catering model of the future, the Group has set up the LAB: a new co-creation space devoted to idea generation and testing in support of innovation.

The purpose of the LAB is to provide a structural framework for Elior Group teams to invent and implement innovative culinary and technological projects for all of the Group’s guests. The LAB is a place of experimentation, co-creation, discovery, learning and prospecting; a place where teams can develop new concepts and services, and raise the awareness of the different staff members to new culinary techniques, flavors and produce, etc.; a place where staff members can meet and talk with the Group’s current and prospective clients.

For Elior Group Chairman and CEO Philippe Salle, "the LAB allows us to approach our profession in a pragmatic and innovative way so that we can achieve concrete results and notably create new products and services for our clients and guests. Everything is in place to ensure that our employees' expertise is shared in real time, and to foster the emergence and coming to fruition of new ideas." 

The LAB comprises five functional areas to meet everyone's needs:

  • A culinary workshop that fosters the sharing of new trends. This is fully equipped to invent new recipes  and organize client demonstrations and food-tasting events; 
  • A test kitchen, which is a research and development lab where products consumed in the Group's restaurants and the latest culinary innovations are tested, analyzed, tasted, controlled and compared with other products;
  • A dedicated digital area which presents all of the Group's apps developed in France and abroad (TimeChef, bon’App, Never Eat Alone, etc.),
  • A lounging area promoting the exchange of views on new usages and consumer trends, such as the connected Awadac tables tried out by Areas in the Montpellier Saint-Roch railway station.
  • A brainstorming area whose layout fosters the emergence of new ideas.

A showroom for our skills and expertise

The LAB is at the disposal of all Group activities in France and abroad, both in the contract catering and services activities (Elior and Elior Services) and in concession catering (Areas). In this area at the cutting-edge of technology and digital culinary solutions, the LAB enables all of the Group's markets to test, experiment and develop innovative solutions related to their activity by trying out the various techniques, technologies and expertise required by the different businesses: 

  • Cooking techniques;
  • Culinary arts;
  • Audio/digital/connected tools;
  • Quality control tools (temperature measurement, weight verification, etc.).

The sharing of expertise and ideas encourages emulation between Group employees, coming together for the first time in one place. In this way, the LAB will contribute towards validating the Group’s ambition to become the caterer of choice, driven by quality and innovative customer experience. With its high-performance and ergonomic equipment, the LAB facilitates the transfer of skills and as such promotes operational excellence.

The LAB was designed in collaboration with the following partners: Adventys (design and induction-cooking material), Bonnet Thirode Grande Cuisine (innovative professional cooking equipment), Chomette (equipment and services for the hotel, catering and contract catering segments), Enodis (professional cooking equipment), Matik (trend research and interior design, distribution of small cooking equipment, tableware and layout of customized furniture), Ricoh (digitalized work stations, multifunction printing solutions, 3D printers and documentary software) and Sopac (weighing solutions and tools to control the cold chain and ensure food security).