LSG Sky Chefs is one of the world's leading airline caterers with over 205 locations in 51 countries. We talked to Sous Chef Daniel Dittrich about the challenges facing the aviation industry, the possibilities of digitization, and the plans of LSG Sky Chefs.
With more than 205 locations in 51 countries and around 650 million meals per year, LSG Sky Chefs is one of the leading airline catering companies in the world. What makes the LSG Sky Chefs the world’s leading airline caterer is the consistently high quality and considerable size. Co-responsible for this is Daniel Dittrich, who has been the sous chef de cuisine for 3.5 years. Satisfied customers, smooth processes, but above all employees who enjoy their work are essential to him. In order to enable this, to guarantee smooth cooperation and processes and to reduce annoying administrative tasks, Daniel relies on FoodNotify. We talked to him about his challenges at LSG Sky Chefs and how FoodNotify helps him to solve them more effectively.
If you want to learn more about the LSG Sky Chefs, read here at www.lsgskychefs.com
Success Story: LSG Sky Chefs
What distinguishes the dishes of the LSG Sky Chefs? And how is the process of creating new dishes?We work with an international kitchen team that develops our dishes together. In doing so, we make sure to design the dishes to meet international tastes. This is essential because our customers at the airports are predominantly international. Everyone should find something that tastes good. In addition to these à la carte dishes, we also create special menus. Our products come from regional, high-quality producers from Switzerland.
The LSG Sky Chefs produces over 650 million meals per year. How many locations and clients do you serve in Switzerland?We have around 5,500 passengers per day. Here in Zurich we have several lounges that are built like restaurants. Two of them are large main lounges where we cook for 2,500-3,000 passengers daily. We opened a smaller lounge in July 2018. There are also two smaller lounges in Non-Schengen and in the arrival area where we only offer breakfast.
Everything has to work smooth and fast at airports. What are the hurdles in your daily business?First, the logistics. We have very limited storage, and everything must be ordered just in time. That’s why we receive deliveries on 5-6 days a week that we need to check, record and process. On the other hand, the cooking processes we are using are a challenge. We work with quick frosting machines and Sous Vide. It is not always easy to administer these processes in the right quantities at the right time.
What does a successful day look like for you?For me personal, a successful day is, when our guests are satisfied, our processes run smoothly, and my employees enjoy their work as well. Only with satisfied and motivated employees, we manage to bring the daily performance that has made us who we are. That’s why the company attaches great importance to a good working atmosphere and promotes this with a wide variety of measures.
Why did you decide to work with FoodNotify?For us it is essential to have an overview of all orders. It is equally important not to lose too much time with administrative processes – they would keep us away from our core business of food preparation. About one and a half years ago, we switched to a hygiene program (Check de Cuisine) and came across FoodNotify. I’ve been looking for such a program for a long time but did not find any in Switzerland that convinced me. Daniel Schwanitz (from Check de Cuisine) told me about FoodNotify and I got access to a test account. Testing the whole FoodNotify system with all its different modules made me sure. Now I’m using FoodNotify in Switzerland and I’m thrilled. This saves us a lot of administrative work and keeps track of our orders without any effort.
How does FoodNotify help you in your daily work?FoodNotify helps us to be able to clearly define food products, which mean for example, you only have one type of ketchup from a particular supplier and this data is automatically available in the data base of FoodNotify and we use this particular ketchup in the recipes. Due to the automatic allergen labeling, which is legally binding today, we can use FoodNotify to create a “menu plan” that identifies all allergens, without any additional effort. The quantity calculation also helps us a lot. If we say we need a recipe for 100 people, then FoodNotify could calculate the required amount of ingredients by the click of a button. Do I need tomorrow instead of 100 portions 1,200, the amount is adjusted by the click of a button.
However, the best feature of FoodNotify for the LSG Sky Chefs is the contribution margin calculator. With that featzre I have our food costs and inventories much better in focus.In the future, we also want to order directly with FoodNotify from the tablet in the kitchen, to digitize everything and thus reduce the error rate, which of course is there when you order by phone. Digital orders from one platform is also good when there are several people who do the order. Due to the transparent order history, the different people still know what was ordered, when and where.
How was the transition from paper and pencil to the digital platform FoodNotify for your colleagues and employees?It was relatively easy for me. Of course, we had to invest some time in the beginning to create the recipes. But this work is essential. We have many young employees who are very open to digital tools, so it was not a big issue for us.
FoodNotify has become a routine and we are all very satisfied.