4 minutes

Re-Opening Mensa: Reliable menu planning in dynamic times

The last few semesters were marked by extraordinary and unforeseeable developments. The unprecedented experience with the pandemic measures was drastic for all university locations. Month-long closures have also presented the refectory operations with great challenges and uncertainties: The situation regarding suitable specialist staff has become more acute and the pressure to operate cost-effectively despite fluctuating demand has increased. 

At the start of the new semester, everyday life is back under "new normal" conditions. The students are returning to the universities and the Corona regulations allow the refectory to operate again.

But how can the food requirements for meals in the refectories be optimally planned? 

Many refectories have used the lockdown to put their services and processes to the test and to address the issue of sustainability and new nutritional trends. Now the findings are to be applied and concepts and meals are to be geared to the needs of students. 

What remains is a hole in the planning history and possibly intransparent "perceived" experience values that are difficult to use for future planning. Coupled with the quality demands of the young clientele and dynamic food trends, the uncertainty in planning increases.

How do you optimally plan the food you need without overproducing or selling out?

Since 2017, Delicious Data has been offering the right AI-based software for this purpose, with three intelligent products - sales forecasting, food waste monitoring and intelligent daily planner - which is precisely where it comes in. The solution is already in use at over 50 canteen locations.

Excerpt from our references

The artificial intelligence calculates a precise sales forecast for the meals from the data of the entire sales history, the planned menus and external factors such as the weather and calendar data. Based on these values, purchasing and production planning in the university canteen can be optimised to align production with demand and thus reduce food waste.

Practical examples: How student unions can use Delicious Data to plan successfully and reduce food waste

This positive effect can be seen in the example of a canteen of the Studierendenwerk Stuttgart . Since the introduction of AI-based forecasts, the forecast values and the actual sales figures have been harmonious. The AI thus contributes to a reduction in workload, because reliable values reduce the complexity of planning. In addition, the analysis shows that the output shrinkage has been significantly reduced analogously and thus the use of goods has been optimised.

This experience is shared by Gudrun Hartmann, head of catering at the Studierendenwerk Frankfurt a. M., who adds further positive effects:

"Through demand-oriented production, we not only optimize food consumption. In the same course, we also sustainably reduce energy costs and, last but not least, can achieve a sensible and efficient deployment of personnel."

Another lever for implementing resource-saving measures is the integration of food waste monitoring. Simply weigh food waste, record it in the app and make potential savings visible by documenting and analysing the data.

"Since we started using Delicious Data to document our wet waste, we have had clear transparency about where and how much food waste occurs. On the other hand, by analysing the data, we can initiate concrete measures for optimisation. Delicious Data makes a significant contribution to the significant reduction of food waste at our locations," confirms Volker Rettig, Head of the Catering Department, Studierendenwerk Darmstadt.

In order to also control production in the cafeterias and snack bars in a targeted and demand-oriented manner, Delicious Data recently began offering the Intelligent Day Planner . Here, the AI can compare the forecast with the item stock and determine the exact time and quantity for the replenishment of the goods. This means that the goods in the display are always fresh, but sell-outs and returns are avoided.

You want clear reliability in dynamic circumstances? The Delicious solution supports you in this. In our industry-specific webinars, we specifically address the needs of Mensa businesses and delve into the application fields. You can register for the event here.

Do you have questions and would like personal advice? Contact us here and we will analyse your savings potential together.

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More profit.

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Less Food Waste.

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More time for customers.