So, just tell us how much your information management is costing you?

Find your hidden cost
and increase profitability of your restaurants!

Inflation is a major issue in today’s food information management, but the current circumstances have turned it into a real headache! Changes in prices, products and possibly suppliers are real stress points that can threaten an entire organisation.

And it is clear that things are not going to get any better: European and national regulations are becoming stricter (allergens, nutrients, and possibly soon a nutri-score…), consumers are demanding more and more transparency, and the authorities are following the media for every slip-up.

But there is a solution, and it is possible to turn these unnecessary costs into benefitsthrough optimising processes that can provide a personalised and interactive experience for your guests! In this article, Youmeal will take a look at hidden costs, risks, and lost profits, all connected to the management of this food information.

At first sight, one might think that food information management and the costs associated with it would only have a negligible impact on the profitability of an organisation. Facing major expenses such as human resources or procurement, it is easy to put this issue on the back burner when faced with major expenses such as human resources or procurement.

So why is the cost of information management rarely taken into account? Quite simply because the issue is not looked at in its entirety and is therefore not brought up as a high- cost element, nor as an opportunity to please and retain your customers!

But what exactly is “food information management” and how can its impact be measured?

It is a matter of making sure that complete, understandable and up-to-date information is transmitted to the final consumers or guests, but also to all different parties in your organisation: information must flow horizontally and vertically between different departments such as the central purchasing offices and points of sale. At each stage, it must be checked, enriched and updated, formatted and passed on to the relevant people in charge. In order to then maximise the marketing opportunity of this information, it can be turned into personalised and interactive content for your customers.

Information cost
for restaurant chains, what are we talking about?

Food information management has 6 major objectives

  • Improving profitability thanks to up-to-date calculs of procurement costs, selling prices and margins
  • Improving operations thanks to products or menus purchase automatisation
  • Meeting European (INCO1169) and national legal regulations: allergens, nutrients, ingredient lists… And maybe soon the nutri-score !
  • Managing firm reputation : penalties, bad publicity, anaphylactic shocks…
  • Improving your image by communicating health, sustainability and CSR policy efforts
  • Retaining your customers thanks to more transparency and an interactive and personalised experience : they want easy access to the menus that fit their diets or convictions, get suggestions regarding their tastes, follow and analyse their consumption regarding their interest criteria…

La société Compass a donc commencé à utiliser le logiciel Youmeal pour satisfaire ce client. Youmeal a non seulement permis le calcul rapide et précis des impacts environnementaux des milliers de repas mais également facilité de les présenter automatiquement à travers des fiches de plats et menus didactiques et complètes. Ces fiches reprennent les allergènes, les nutriments et les labels. Les convives sont donc informés en temps réel et sans effort. Ceci offre également à Compass un plan d’action concret de diminution des émissions de CO2.

Pour disposer de résultats rapides et fiables sur des dizaines de milliers de produits, recettes et menus, You- Meal s’appuie sur 4 atouts majeurs : sa base de données géante, ses algorithmes, ses interfaces dédiées et son équipe d’expert.e.s. La base de données couvre 3.500 produits génériques (pommes, pilon de poulet, etc.) entièrement qualifiés. Elle couvre également des centaines de milliers de produits de marque, qui peuvent être facilement retrouvées (sur base de leur EAN, références fournisseurs, noms et autres) afin de documenter les produits du client. Les interfaces dédiées permettent aux chefs d’encoder facilement leurs recettes et leurs menus, sur base des produits propres au client et les algorithmes analysent les recettes et les menus automatiquement. Résultat : la recette de votre filet de cabillaud en croûte d’herbe aux petits légumes mentionnera automatiquement du poisson, les nutriments demandés et même son empreinte environnementale.

Les algorithmes de YouMeal permettent de calculer tous les résultats d’une recette : allergènes, valeurs nutritionnelles, nutri-score, végan, veggie, présence de porc ou autres ingrédients délicats, labels (Bio, MSC, etc.), coût-matière, empreinte carbone, consommation d’eau, de sol, de poissons en danger, éco-score et même nutri-éco-score.

Sophie Flagothier, CTO de Youmeal explique : “Nos algorithmes considèrent les transformations alimentaires telles que le nettoyage (on ne mange pas les os dans les 200 g de pilons de poulet), les cuissons (pâtes, épinards, etc.) et les dilutions. Sans cela, les résultats sont faux ! Une dernière prouesse de nos algorithmes consiste à mettre tout cela en page instantanément pour un résultat agréable pour les convives”.

When you calculate all costs of providing even minimal information, you will quickly understand the impact on your overall expenses. In many cases, a big contributing factor is the immediate urgency of putting processes and solutions in place in order to manage the increasing demands of the sector. But! In order to cope with these ever-tightening deadlines, many of these internal processes are being implemented one after the other without any real coherence.

And this will bear its consequences! Manual and repetitive processes plus inadequate tools and costly maintenance will have a significant impact on your margin. Even more so, they will impact efficiency and morale of your staff.

Furthermore, poor food information management can have other huge financial consequences: fines, bad press, and even public health risks. Omitting information related to allergens, for example, can entice other huge consequences: allergic reactions, anaphylactic shock, and worse, even death. We remember the incidence that led to the Natasha Act on allergen labelling for non-pre-packaged prepared products…
We might therefore as well act proactively to avoid these “catch-up costs”!

“I used to spend my entire week on calculating allergens, nutrients and the carbon footprint for one single client. Today, it only takes me half of a day to have the same information at hand… For 200 restaurants!”

Nicolas Bouckaert, Health Manager at Compass Belgium

Food information is often expensive and risky. What is worse in many cases, is that there is no benefit for the company. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case, and if awareness of the problem is a first step, with optimised processes and good tools, you can even reduce your costs while increasing customer loyalty! “This has freed up much of my time in order to do what I love and what brings value to Compass and our customers: Improving the quality of our food offering by working on balanced and sustainable menu plans. And working on that communication! What’s more, is that I now find the time to deal with unexpected emergencies that are typical in our business: at present time the constant changes of products or suppliers” conclude Nicolas Bouckaert.

Want to know more?

Youmeal proposes not only to analyse your current processes in order to determine the costs and risks of your situation, but also to assess what you could gain by improving your processes !

YouMeal launches an in-depth study of the cost on food information management during the months of September and October. Go in and take advantage of a free 30- minute diagnostic.

A real good management tool is:



for our dieticians
in charge of food information (in Head Quarters or on site)

How to estimate
the current
costs for you?

In order to calculate your management costs, it is important to list all functions involved, the actions related to them and the budgets allocated to them. That is the starting point for identifying your areas of unnecessary or avoidable loss.

Your human resources on the front

First of all, many different departments are involved in information management; such as quality, IT, data management, marketing or even CSR, sales and operations. To date, what is your overall HR cost? How is everyone’s time allocated on this matter? With the help of your employees, you can easily identify the points of tension: work overload, “monkey work”, copying, different formats, waiting times, missing or erroneous data, etc… An additional benefit will be that while you are looking to find information on how to save money, you will listen to your employees.

You have just established your human costs at a given time T. You can now determine what it corresponds to and how often it occurs: how often do you change your ingredients (brand, composition, etc.), your suppliers, your recipes? How painful and timely are the updates? Are there any additional adjustments to be made according to points of sale or your markets (translations into other languages for example)? And if your teams were to change, would it be easy to take over their methods without interrupting the information chain? These questions are essential in order to arrive at the ultimate question: how is the risk of bad information managed?

Do your processes really make management easier?
Your tools – friends or foes?

The choice of good management tools is essential for the reliability of information processing. The more efficient these tools are, the better you can optimize your processes and workload. How many tools do you have today? What are the associated costs (licence, maintenance and after-sales service)? Are you aware of any solutions that can replace several of your tools all at once?

By acting on these three areas, you will benefit from an optimisation that you never knew existed before. In addition, you will profit from all the the virtues of clear, up-to-date and complete information:

  • Understanding of your strengths and weaknesses at all levels: profitability, data,
    health, sustainability, diversity, compatibility with national laws and regulations.
  • Communication on your strengths: f.ex. 60% Nutri-score A.
  • Communication on your improvements: f.ex. -30% CO2

Would you like to find out the exact cost of your information management? Make an appointment now with our experts to benefit from a FREE analysis! Do not hesitate any longer!

Make an appointment with our experts

Restaurant chains are currently subject to a lot of constraints that leave little room for better organisation and anticipation. By addressing the subject of information management and its costs, Youmeal wishes to help companies to become more competitive and self-reliant, by pointing to unsuspected resources that will be your strength of tomorrow. Better information management means to act on your costs, the well-being of your teams and the preservation of the planet, while setting up your organisation around reliable and efficient processes.

Because yes, that’s what food information is all about in 2022.

And you, where do you stand today?