2018 will be the year of new for Sodexo; newer solutions in the offing: Suvodeep Das

Sodexo India Benefits & Rewards Services has started 2018 with a strategic partnership with online grocery store, Bigbasket. The Sodexo Meal Card can now be used to shop for food and non-alcoholic beverages on BigBasket.com. The company delivers more than 40 different food and facilities management solutions across 1,100+ sites, through its 40,000 employees, who touch the lives of 800,000 consumers daily. 

Sodexo BRS offers delivers services across two categories – Employee Benefits and Incentive & Recognition programs. Sodexo BRS offers a range of 100 per cent Digital employee benefit solutions. The meal benefit offerings include Meal Cards and Cafeteria Cards. The company’s fully digital Incentive & Recognition offerings include the Premium Pass range of solutions that include the Premium Pass Celebrations for festive gifting & Premium Pass rewards for ongoing Reward & Recognition programs. Sodexo reaches out to over 3 million daily consumers in India across 1,500+ cities nationally including tier 3 & tier 4 cities making it India’s largest Digital Meal Benefit Network with over 75,000+ unique points of acceptance. 

As Vice President – Marketing at Sodexo BRS India, Suvodeep Das’ mandate is to run marketing & communication, launch new technologies, products and anchor the brand’s Digital transformation. In a conversation with Adgully, Das took us through the journey of Sodexo in India, their latest partnership, growth plans for 2018 and more. Excerpts: 

Could you briefly tell us about the journey of Sodexo. What was the strategy behind starting something like this for the Indian market?
Sodexo has completed 20 years in India this year. In these past 20 years, Sodexo has established itself as the leader in employee benefits solutions in India. Sodexo currently offers the following types of solutions in India – Meal Benefit solutions (Sodexo Meal Cards/ Cafeteria cards) and Rewards and Recognition solutions for festivals and special occasions (Sodexo Premium Pass). Sodexo started its digital transformation journey 3 years back, when they decided to develop their own proprietary merchant acceptance network. The company has a 1-1 relationship with every merchant for acceptance of the Sodexo meal card for food & non-alcoholic beverages – this ensures 100 per cent tax-compliance for the meal benefit. 

Sodexo launched the digital version of their employee gifting solutions in August – Premium Pass Celebrations Card and Rewards Card – in partnership with IDFC bank and RuPay. The cards are accepted at the 2 million plus merchant network of RuPay as well as most leading online portals. 

In the past year, Sodexo’s focus has been to enhance the consumer’s experience while using the benefits provided by Sodexo. Sodexo has been strengthening its position in the Indian market by two ways. First, by partnering with companies like Zeta, Innoviti, Pine Labs, mSwipeetc, Sodexo is enhancing the consumer experience of users. Second, by partnering with UrDoorStep.com, Goodbox, Spar Hypermarket, etc., Sodexo is increasing the customer access points for the Meal Card users. The company wants a high-quality user experience for its 3-million strong consumer base even while they use the digital solutions on the 100 per cent tax-compliant meal benefit network. 

How does Sodexo go about recognising their clients/ merchants?
Today, Sodexo’s expertise is recognised by 11,000 + public and private sector clients across segments. We are the only company in India who has a one-on-one contract with every merchant, this makes it the only network that is 100 per cent compliant with RBI & IT Laws. Our business model is flexible to customise our offerings for each client be it a large corporate or an SME. 

How has the consumer profile changed in the 20 years that you have been present in the market?
The nature of the workforce in India has changed over the last decade; the same is reflected in the profile of our consumers. Many of them are millennials, who love the freedom of choice with their always-on nature. This segment is digitally-savvy and have specialised apps for every need like travel, food shopping, etc. 

These millennials often coexist with 2-3 other generations in the same organisation; this multi-generational workforce has varied needs and priorities. Their ways of working are different and so are their approaches. They are less experimenting and care most about job security. Hence, there is a need for customised solutions in employee benefits when it comes to managing a diverse workforce. 

Could you shed some more light on the latest online partnership (with BigBasket)?

The Sodexo Meal Card can now be used to shop for fresh and packed foods as well as non-alcoholic beverages on bigbasket.com by their 3 million daily users. Sodexo caters to a large consumer base of millennials; this partnership empowers them with a wide variety of choice. These millennials can be rest assured that their food and grocery delivery will be taken care of once they place their order through the BigBasket platform and pay using their Sodexo Meal Card. 

How was 2017 for Sodexo in terms of business expansion?
In its 20th year in India, Sodexo moved to a suite of 100 per cent digital solutions for the meal and gifting employee benefits. The company also partnered innovative Indian startups like Zeta, Innoviti, Swiggy, etc., and increased the merchant network to 100,000+ unique touch points across 1,500 cities in India, to cater to their 3 million consumer base. Being a market leader in employee benefits, our expertise is recognised by 3 million daily consumers. 

What are your growth plans in 2018? What new solutions can we expect?
2018 will be ‘the year of new’. We have started the New Year with the Bigbasket partnership. There will be many more partnerships in the pipeline to strengthen the value proposition for all clients and consumers. There are also newer solutions in the employee benefits space in the offing. These solutions and partnerships will redefine the way companies deliver employee benefits to their employees.

  • Sodexo will consolidate its leadership position in the employee benefits space by launching newer solutions
  • The company will further enhance the merchant acceptance network to provide greater choice for the 3 million consumers
  • Sodexo will look at partnering with more innovative Indian companies.

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