CLAGE is an owner-managed industrial company for energy-saving water heaters. At its headquarters in the northern german Hanseatic city of Lüneburg, more than 280 employees work in development, design, production and sales together. Catering Manager Marc Prediger explains why the K-BOX including SmartShelf displays for catering is such a valuable addition to his canteen service.
The K-BOX in the canteen business – fresh, healthy and around the clock
Mr. Prediger, 2020 was certainly not an easy year for the management of your canteen. What has changed for you?
Consistency has always been a foreign word in gastronomy. But the Corona pandemic has shown that even we don't know all the facets yet. As a staff canteen, we at least had the advantage that we only had to change our operations, not shut them down. The most serious change for us was that we were not allowed to cater for external guests. Customer service training, partner operations, field service, from March onwards everything moved in the virtual world. Of course, we were still there for our employees at the site. Staggered break times and spatial separation meant that we could continue to offer our catering service.
How did you come up with Kesseböhmer's K-BOX? Why didn't you just want a sandwich vending machine?
Up to now, we at CLAGE have used the classic beverage and snack vending machines. That means lots of small coins in circulation and little flexibility in the range. During my visit to the Internorga trade fair in 2019, I passed the Kesseböhmer stand by chance. And I saw the first prototype of the K-BOX. Germar Pflug from the K-BOX team managed to get me excited about the K-BOX concept right away. Cashless payment transactions, free configuration and individual control of the displays without having to become an IT specialist myself: that's exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, there was only a prototype; otherwise I would have jumped at the chance. But our initial contact soon led to a pilot project involving our company together with Kesseböhmer, REHAU, and our system partner for the company ID card.
Which K-BOX modules do you use?
Since mid-July 2020, we have had two Generation-1 modules in operation for drinks, snacks and more. A really cool thing.
How does the workforce react to the new offer?
The K-BOX is very popular with our employees in administration and production. The larger selection, the changing range of products, the promotion days – all this makes the K-BOX attractive for them. And as the range of products grows, so do the wishes: "Can't you pick up my favorite bar from brand X?" If it's in the display the next day, I'm always rewarded with a smile. But the colleagues from marketing also have fun with the system. They like to create individual graphics for promotion days or special offer items, which then run across the displays.
Does the K-BOX affect your workflows and costs?
With 5,000 purchases in the first 6 months – despite no external customers and 50 percent of the workforce working from home – the K-BOX is a successful model for me. Personally, especially the cashless payment transaction is a great relief.
Do you plan to use other modules?
Yes. We are currently building a new bistro for our location. Two additional modules will be added there. And we have another vision. We want to use a module in the plant for daily consumer items and protective items for manufacturing. That would save us a lot of paperwork with order and delivery notes, and we could manage the flow of materials electronically. After all, the possibilities of the system are not limited to the food sector.
How satisfied were you with the technical support during the introduction of the SmartShelf displays?
The idea of the K-BOX is based, among others, on the SmartShelf technology with the flexibly controllable displays. Here, Peter Michels gave us very good user training and supported us during the initial setup. We are the catering specialists, not IT experts, so we were pleasantly surprised at how easy the system was to operate. Today, it's a no-brainer for us. New motifs and campaign messages are created by our in-house marketing department.
Have you already had reference visits from other companies interested in the K-BOX system?
Unfortunately, this was not possible last year. Of course we are in close contact with Mrs. Hüggelmeyer from Kesseböhmer and we are open for reference visits.