Lolly Guest Blog – Raj Jeyaratnam Head of Technology Services, CH&CO

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at CH&CO?

I love technology, whether it be inside or outside of work. I’m always trying to make my house as ‘smart’ as possible, from a robot vacuum to automated lights and alerts, which for the most part the kids loveIn my role as Head of Technology Services for CH&CO, I’m responsible for operational technology service delivery, strategy, and innovation. Ensuring the Group delivers on key technology principles of great customer experience, operational efficiency and better data faster, firmly puts CH&CO as a leading hospitality technology provider.

How does CH&CO utilise technology to improve the customer experience?

Customer experience is at the heart of our technology solutions and partnering with Lolly really enables us to deliver on this key principle. We use technology to simplify our customers’ interactions with our services, from pre-ordering a coffee, or customising your pizza order through a self-service kiosk, to grabbing your items in restaurant and using mobile scan and go or using frictionless computer vision-based checkouts.

We continually look to enhance the customer experience and remove friction, making it easier to enjoy great food and drink.

How are you focused on increasing productivity and improving performance?

Hospitality is a low margin business, therefore, there is great emphasis on being operationally efficient. We use data to baseline and improve efficiency, every technology solution we deploy must give us great data.

However, data alone is not enough. Our data team (headed by Jack Wells), works with the latest Microsoft Power BI features, combining data sources to give real insight into performance and how it can be improved, from sales trends, kitchen wastage, labour and beyond.

What role does technology play in sustainability for CH&CO and your clients?

Technology enables us to track our sustainability performance by measuring key streams, such as wastage and carbon footprint. Building an initial baseline across our estate, we can then use data and AI to analyse trends providing actionable insight for operations and central teams to drive improvement.

Both my tech team and Lolly work closely with Clare Clark, CH&CO’s Sustainability Business Partner, to discuss new ideas for how we can improve data capture and drive companywide programmes of work.

Can you tell us more about the carbon footprint calculator you are developing with Lolly? 

From net zero to carbon neutral, the world is working towards a low carbon future. CH&CO is offering clients the opportunity to understand the carbon footprint of catering, and working with Lolly we are taking this further – giving consumers the chance to see a personal carbon dashboard.

Then through education, incentive and reward, we can change customer behaviour, helping them to go green, and aligning clients to their corporate sustainability goals.

It’s a great piece of innovation that puts the customer at the heart of driving improvement through behavioural change…

What is its purpose? What role do you see it playing in your business?

As mentioned above, the purpose is to educate and nudge customer behaviour, only through combined action will a low carbon world become a reality. If we can nudge 50% of our customers to eat ‘green’ one more time each week, we will be moving in the right direction. The carbon dashboard linked to corporate goals, enables both a client and customer to buy into the low carbon hospitality goal.

How should caterers/hospitality businesses work and communicate with customers and consumers to improve the industry?

Natasha’s Law was a wake-up for the industry supply chain and has really kick-started the drive to providing customers with more information. New calorie labelling legislation will be introduced on 6th April and I’m sure future legislation regarding nutrition and carbon labelling will also come into force.

Through the use of the intuitive Lolly App we are able to educate and engage our customers, delivering personalised information based on their purchasing habits.

What advice do you have for hospitality/corporate catering businesses to be future-ready in terms of sustainability, as well as meeting consumer needs and demands?

Three key elements, data, education and people.

Data, firstly, you must leverage data to understand your baseline position, this enables you to focus on the quick wins and changes that will deliver the greatest shift.

Education, implementing nudging behaviours both internally and externally to drive improvement, it’s not going to happen overnight, but every small win helps.

Lastly, people. Thankfully CH&CO has Clare Clark, our Sustainability Business Partner. She energises our people and drives the strategic change, but having the right team to support this change is critical – everyone plays a role in making sustainable change.

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