Centrally managed from Cologne, Germany, but with a global presence in South America, Europe and the U.S., Areas is one of the market leaders in transportation, leisure and travel catering.
With airports, train stations, freeway service areas and leisure facilities in its repertoire, Areas provides gastronomic services to travelers at major international transport hubs and at numerous Center Parcs parks in Europe.
With so many locations and diverse areas of operation, it wasn’t always easy to keep track of everything. “There was no existing uniform system,” explains Daniela Peters, who was responsible for quality management at Areas at the time and acts now as Sustainability & Environmental Officer within the company. “All documentation, from temperature lists to hygiene audits, was only available in paper form.”
Peters decided it was time to move to a unified and digital system and researched the market for a flexible foodservice software, tested apps, and trying her hand at all of them; she stuck with Lumiform. But why?
The best thing about Lumiform is that the software is incredibly flexible. We can create our own queries for different locations, customize forms exactly how we want them, and ask the questions that are important to each operation.
The decision wasn’t difficult: Other programs and software Peters tested didn’t leave her much room for maneuver, were rigid and inflexible: Questions were fixed in advance, especially in the gastronomic industry. With Lumiform, on the other hand, Areas was able to easily build a completely unique system and tailor the software to their own and specific needs.
With more than 1,900 stores worldwide, it’s not enough for Areas to use preloaded HACCP checklists because individual operations are as diverse as the market itself. Of course, HACCP requirements still need to be met and temperature and MHD lists maintained, but with Lumiform, Areas has been able to put in place a far more comprehensive control system that goes beyond mandatory audits.
Thanks to the flexibility of the Lumiform software, Areas has created its very own system that can be modified as needed. In particular, the Center Parcs parks that Areas manages, while similar, are set up completely differently depending on location, have different numbers of staff* and different sized kitchens. With Lumiform, parks can comply with the same lists and regulations, but arranged in individual tours.
“This is very practical for our teams on site,” explains Peters: employees* namely only have to follow the tour that the app prescribes. This makes the teams particularly independent.
How Areas uses Lumiform
“We initially did our hygiene audits with Lumiform,” Peters reports. This was especially worthwhile at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flexible options for creating and modifying forms allowed Peters to easily add all new measures to the system for reliable monitoring.
“The software has been a huge help in our inspections, and not only our operations, but also the health departments have been thrilled with our documentation with Lumiform.”
After Areas successfully used Lumiform as software for foodservice in hygiene audits and for special requirements during the pandemic, temperature lists were also added to the operations.
Before Lumiform, the temperature lists were printed out and hung in front of each cold storage facility. These papers had to be filled in manually, filed away and replaced. All of these steps are now eliminated thanks to the software, “a big time saver,” as Peters points out.
Peters’ favorite feature in the software? Lumiforms’ actions feature. “The fact that you can immediately, when you find a problem, inform the responsible employees via email with a picture and description is the feature par excellence for me,” Peters shares with us. Thanks to the actions feature, messages therefore do not have to pass several stops, but reach the employee who is responsible for the repair or replacement directly.
The software makes our employees very independent. So Lumiform saves us a tremendous amount of steps, especially at the scale at which we operate.
What’s next? Soon Areas would also like to use Lumiform for cleaning forms and MHD control lists. For this, the quality management team with successor Ching-Chun Chen as Specialist Quality Management at the headquarters in Cologne is in constant exchange with the parks.
“We even have an assistant in one of the parcs who has even used the Lumiform software in the past and knows the possibilities that the app offers,” Peters reports.
The importance of digitization for Areas
In addition to time savings and the autonomy Lumiform offers international teams, the analytics feature in particular helps Areas keep track of all its operations at once. No documents need to be scanned and sent: Documentation is completely digital and internal to the software.
Thanks to Lumiform, we are more flexible and transparent on the road, can intervene more easily and quickly in processes and optimize them in a targeted manner.
Lumiform can be built to be complex, but remains intuitive and flexible. All teams working with Lumiform were trained and slowly introduced to the system. In this way, the fear of digitalization was also taken away from the employees.
According to Peters, training her successor was also a breeze. “Digitization can have many upsides. In Lumiform’s case, it’s even pretty perfect.”