The biscuits are Lenôtre oven

The biscuits are Lenôtre oven

Austerity forces, companies carve in their reception budgets. This does not suit the famous caterer, forced to find new revenue management.

What strategy will it follow the direction to boost sales?

Scenario  1: Yielding shops to refocus solely on receptions.

Scenario 2: Engage in social and outsource part of the production.

Scenario 3: Keep all activities with their numbers, but rationalize.

Lenôtre chose Scenario 3.

This is not invented. Lenôtre workshops are installed . Plaisir, near Paris. And from 6 am, the commotion of battle. 350 cooks are activated. In the basement, dozens of little hands peel fresh vegetables, cut pieces of meat . Upstairs, thirty load chocolates, forty deal with desserts and macaroons, as “the hive “assembles canapes.

Always with a taste of sophistication: the ice cream is made with pear crops Potager du Roi (Versailles), almonds are caramelized in copper vats . “Our DNA is the quality guarantees proudly CEO, Laurent Le Fur. The house can become a war machine, but it requires very careful management, otherwise it is flu easily. “

ITS OWNER,  the Sodexo Group, knows something: since the canteen has provided catering in 2011, savored! In terms of prestige, no complaints: stars brigade (Guy Krenzer, Michel Roth .) and VIP activities (shops in uptown, receptions in ministries) . everything is there!

> You prefer the homemade? Find video courses to achieve your foie gras: (Click on the image to launch the video)

But the financial side, it is not at the party: in three years, the caterer has accumulated over 15 million euros in losses, for a turnover of 103 million euros in 2014. “This year, for the first time, the company will make money, “says the daughter of the founder of Sodexo Nathalie Szabo-Bellon, Sodexo CEO of Sports and Recreation. For 2015, management announced a turnover of 104 million euros and an operating profit ironed in the green. However, an undeniable best, insufficient: the shareholder had to put the hand in the pocket and reBusiness School Admissionize its subsidiary.

Lenôtre, yet it is a great story. That of a Norman pastry chef, Gaston came to try his luck in Paris in 1957. He opened a shop rue d’Auteuil, quickly successful meeting, then opens a reception activity, opening stores abroad . the development is bold. A little too much: the mid-1980s already, Gaston should call the Accor Group to the rescue. “We launched a savings plan, streamlined the organization and reignited the trade agreement until the World Cup 1998!” Says one elder.

In the 2000s, Lenôtre begins to invest, buying back Fauchon shops, multiplying international partnerships . The history repeat itself? “When we bought the company Accor in 2011, she was in a difficult situation, highly leveraged,” says Nathalie Bellon-Szabo. Clash of cultures undoubtedly, the group is in any case time to take things in hand. “We do not want to be brutal, shows the shareholder. The priority was to preserve the talent, now we apply our management skills. “

First project: the receiving business, a segment weakened since 2008. Private and public institutions, all reduced their mouth fresh. Consider this: for his cocktail of July 14, the city of Paris is negotiating free champagne and petit fours against a highlighting of the supplier!

In addition, competition has hardened. Last year, home Fauchon and Lenôtre blown his contract covered 7,000 at Roland Garros. “Yet it was the first time she took part in our consultations,” says Bastien Laurichesse, the French Tennis Federation. “The Paris market becoming very competitive, we seek to organize more events abroad,” said Laurent Le Fur. Especially, Sodexo and Lenôtre join forces to multiply the catering contracts in stages: the canteen, meals to the public; the caterer, the service reserved for personalities.

OTHER BLACK POINT  recent years: the shops. “The customer declined by 5% per year,” admits Laurent Le Fur.

First, the offer was so abundant that it became confused: appetizers, cold dishes, pastries, cakes . all offered whatever the size of stores, or 90 300 square meters. “We clarified the board, with 30% less revenue, and adapted assortments to spaces and neighborhoods,” continues the CEO.

Then, some prices were a little difficult to digest in times of austerity. Count 70 euros Autumn Leaf Cake star of the house, eight or nine people. No way to plane labels, but the house is now developing smaller, more affordable products, like a bag of pretzels chocolate to 6.50 euros, cleverly installed near the cash register. Result? Two of the fifteen shops remain threatened, but attendance is generally ironed in the green.

The log Hermes 130 euros

Last strategic issue: to sort through the myriad of more secondary activities. The management would boost profitable business, such as licenses with industry – the cook develops products for Labeyrie Bridor (Groupe Le Duff) and Barry Callebaut – or training school. It already hosts 3,000 professionals annually.

Conversely, Sodexo is considering settle less promising activities, such as delivery of meal trays or catalogs of corporate gifts. “Nothing is settled, said Nathalie Bellon-Szabo. But the momentum is there. “So .

A slight improvement after 3 years of losses:

2012  : € 5.5 million loss

in 2013  : 6.8 million euros of losses

in 2014  : € 3.3 million loss

in 2015  : 1.8 million euros in profits

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