Pre-ordering 30 minutes before departure will soon be a reality
Six months after becoming gategroup coo, Federico Germani tells us how the smartphone is driving catering into a new era, fast
The smartphone and the technology around it are giving passengers the power to better control their experience. That brings tremendous opportunities for airlines but also puts great pressure on the final mile of the catering journey.
Technology will be a strong driver for the industry in the coming years, transforming the passenger experience. We are investing heavily in it by partnering, for example, with technology leaders Black Swan to help unlock the potential. We believe the opportunities are very exciting, not just in food service but in onboard retail and every element of buy-on-board logistics.
The whole airline industry is undergoing a major technological transformation with onboard wifi becoming standard and growing demand from passengers for control and information throughout their journey.
But technology is not just about the passenger, it is integral to the success of the entire global supply chain. If you are increasing passenger choice and extending pre-order options, every touchpoint along the way must have the data and technology to deliver. There is no doubt pre-ordering 30 minutes before departure will be with us very soon for both Economy and Business. We will deliver on that thanks to our investment in data analytics which ensure accurate load predictions. The food won't be made in that last half an hour but the data will tell us long before what will be required.
Having spent much of my career on the other side of the fence, within airlines (most recently LATAM), I did not fully appreciate until now the true complexity of airline catering. I'd visited kitchens and airport units of course but seeing the scale, performance, efficiency, consistency and true complexity of that last mile of the operation was eyeopening. The importance of a caterer being a true partner with an airline, sharing the same objectives, systems and integrated technology is absolutely fundamental to the passenger experience.
The opportunities available through true partnerships are immense. Now I fully realise the investment caterers such as gategroup make in their people, their world-class chefs, efficiencies and technology. These investments are all designed to support the airlines' passenger experience. Airlines should be very reassured at how advanced the thinking and investment is, it is this that will help them leap frog ahead and achieve the vision so many talk about of the personalised, connected passenger experience.