LSG Sky Chefs is focusing on digital menu presentations in times of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Numerous video sessions with customers across various continents, organized by the regional culinary teams, have generated excitement among all involved in recent months. Now, the Global Culinary Excellence team is developing the framework for a global concept to integrate them firmly into the corporate portfolio.
Bill Gillen, Director Culinary Excellence for the North America region at LSG Group, was one of the main drivers. “We realized in early 2020 that the pandemic would significantly affect our menu presentations, and that a digital concept would work regardless. Ultimately, the coronavirus situation was just an accelerant in a world that is rapidly digitizing,” he says.
Nick Vass, Key Account Design Chef for LSG Group’s Emerging Markets region, was also an immediate believer in virtual menu presentations. “The past few months have proven that the pandemic has a positive impact on our communication methods even though you’re physically removed. Where emails were once the main medium, a video call is now quickly organized. People are talking to each other more,” he explains.
With the help of the company’s own IT department, standard equipment for high-quality video conferences was defined. However, that did not solve the problem of communicating the taste of the food to customers. “Our chefs therefore describe the cooking techniques, the aroma of individual ingredients and the texture of a dish once the customers sees it on his screen. They go into detail, so that you can mentally taste along. This creates a vivid picture,” says Bill Gillen.
If it’s logistically possible, there’s the option of delivering the freshly prepared dishes to the customer with the help of the company’s own logistics team. Through a video link, customers can taste and then discuss the meal with the LSG Group chefs. Both versions of the digital menu presentation, some of which were implemented across many time zones, have been very well received in recent months.
“Rather than canceling the menu presentations, digitizing them has strengthened the airlines’ relationship and trust with LSG Sky Chefs, which has provided additional customer loyalty,” says Jörg Hofmann, Head of Center of Excellence Culinary at LSG Group. “Furthermore, the project underpins our efforts towards sustainability in the company – even after the pandemic.”