Earlier this month, Sodexo announced its acquisition of Foodee, a food technology platform that aggregates 800-plus local restaurants. Foodee is now part of the foodservice provider’s corporate services division, contracting with B&I accounts.
The restaurant aggregator gives Sodexo the flexibility to target the post-pandemic hybrid workplace, where employees may work part of the week from home, at the office or in a third place—like a cafe or hotel lobby.
“With the population down in office buildings, especially on Mondays and Fridays, we don’t need a full complement of [foodservice] staff onsite,” says Mike Gillespie, President, Corporate Services West at Sodexo North America. “Foodee focuses on independent restaurants in the local community and brings real variety to workers. For Sodexo, it’s a smarter way to do onsite foodservice.”
The acquisition also provides a foodservice solution for smaller companies without an employee cafeteria.
Foodee now operates in 14 cities across the U.S. and Canada and plans to expand to New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and Montreal in the next year. Starting at $6.99 a month, Sodexo’s B&I clients can invite employees to the platform to order meals in advance or on the same day, which are then delivered to a central location. Foodee can fulfill orders for as few as 20 people and up to 600, but it does not currently deliver meals to a single employee working remotely.
This partnership also benefits the small restaurateurs on the Foodee platform. Mom-and-pop restaurants can join Sodexo’s entegra Procurement Services to leverage its purchasing power on food and other supplies. “When you roll these small restaurants into one platform, it works like a GPO (group purchasing organization) and brings discounts to the members,” says Gillespie.
Via Foodee, employees also can access menus from Nourish, Inc., a company Sodexo acquired earlier this year that has a commissary kitchen model featuring 25 cuisine types with a focus on seasonal, global, plant-forward dishes.
Although workers are trickling back to corporate offices post-pandemic, many companies are not requiring employees to come in every day. More than 14% of employed Americans continued to work remotely in June, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With the number of businesses promoting hybrid workplace models, employers are looking for alternative solutions to the fully staffed corporate cafeteria.