How Sodexo’s acquisition of Frontline Food Services could help it adapt to the times


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With the pandemic changing consumer habits, Sodexo hopes an upcoming acquisition will help the company stay ahead of the game in restaurant technology.

Earlier this month, Sodexo announced it would buy convenience services company Frontline Food Services, a move that will expand its technology capabilities, strengthen its presence in the Mid-Atlantic, Texas and Arizona, and more, according to Husein Kitabwalla, CEO of Sodexo service operations in North America.

Meet customers where they are

This acquisition will allow Sodexo to extend its “any food, anytime, anywhere” strategy with services such as takeout, delivery, self-service pantry, office refreshments and smart vending machines.

With the continued rise of contactless offerings such as ghost kitchens and 24-hour micro-markets, Kitabwallahopes Frontline Foods will make Sodexo more accessible to its diners, wherever they are.

“There is an opportunity here to break out of the usual brick and mortar, and if a [diner] is sitting somewhere and if we can virtually connect with them, then why not get products to them, like all the other delivery options you have today,” he says.

All segments online

Frontline’s technology capabilities won’t be limited to certain segments of the restaurant business, Kitabwalla said. Instead, Sodexo plans to scour each of the channels it serves and find untapped opportunities that Frontline could help fill.

One of these opportunities would be to provide 24-hour food options to healthcare professionals working night shifts.

“Because of being cashless and contactless, we could potentially provide a new product or service delivery mechanism that meets the needs of a 24-hour location,” Kitabwalla says, “and previously we didn’t might not have been able to do that.

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