Les Petits Chefs food services is a growing family business whose main mission is to serve nutritional meals to toddlers in daycares and elementary schools. Excellence in service, balance at the right price are at the heart of its values… just like innovation. And when it talks about innovation, it definitely speaks to us!
Create a cafeteria experience that makes it possible to manage the many cases of food allergies, and facilitates all administrative management of the company.
A multi-channel e-commerce platform that centralizes a B2C and B2B experience. The platform manages the entire sales cycle and business rules for the sale of dishes intended for primary schools, individuals and wholesale sales intended for daycare centers. In a way, it’s a tailor-made ERP for Petits Chefs food services.
More than 1,250,000 meals delivered to thousands of children and adults across Quebec in 2021, an increase of more than 500% over 5 years.
Absolutely every field out there can benefit from innovation. In the food industry, digital can be a major help when addressing distribution issues and customer loyalty. So, it’s not that surprising that the custom ERP project for Les Petits Chefs turned out to be a major success. If you have a minute, we’ll tell you the story!
While experiencing a strong period of growth, Les Petits Chefs decided to create a virtual 2.0 menu from which customers could order the contents of their children’s lunch boxes online, while also managing their children’s allergies more easily. Internally, the platform also became a real ERP system that could be used to manage kitchen operations, customer service and sales.
While developing the platform, several objectives were set:
- Online meal purchasing
- Allergy management based on meal ingredients
- Kitchen operations management
- Security and employee rights management
- Complex reporting system (sales, operations, etc.)
- Order error management and customer service
- Platform available 24/7
Beneficial design workshops
The main objective of Les Petits Chefs was to sell meals online to several different types of customers. However, our strategic support team quickly realized that the client needed much more, a platform that would become the hub of all the company’s operations. It was therefore necessary to provide extensible and sufficiently robust technology so that the platform remained viable in the long term and was a real investment.
Imagine the solution
One of the important features of the platform is the allergy alert system which notifies the parent or CPE manager when a meal contains allergens for one of the dependent children. It is this same platform, which has become a real ERP for our client, which bridges the gap between the ingredients of the selected dishes and the menu available in the school calendar.
In addition to the many typical functionalities of an e-commerce site (order cancellation, refund, etc.), this tailor-made ERP from which company administrators benefit allows them to manage all kitchen operations using management tools. ‘automating. Critical data on sales, meals to be produced and other reports are available in just a few clicks thanks to intuitive and efficient administrative interfaces.
Choosing the right technology
On the back-end side, Laravel 5 was chosen for its extensibility and for Eloquent, an object-relational mapping (ORM) system with Active Record. This ORM allows us to simplify the numerous and complex queries to the database.
We also use vue.js to manage numerous validations and other asynchronous database requests such as saving the shopping cart, checking allergies and canceling a meal for a given day. The responsive interface is provided by the Twitter Bootstrap library.
To put in production
Deployment is automated by a virtualized Docker-like software container, allowing us to package all dependencies and easily deploy them on any type of infrastructure. This method not only accelerates the initial deployment of the application, but also guarantees greater flexibility and maintenance of the platform.
The results of this project were surprising although we somewhat expected them. Implementing this type of tool allows for better organization of the company’s activities, time savings linked to the accomplishment of tasks, better competitiveness on the market or even an increase in turnover. Les Petits Chefs therefore took advantage of all these advantages, while responding more effectively to the specific needs of its sector, such as better allergy management. Even today, we support them to make their tools and their virtual menu ever more innovative. So… stay tuned!
To conclude, this project allowed us to begin a real long-term collaboration with Les Petits Chefs. It also allowed us to highlight that innovation is a major ally, even when we are talking about multi-channel e-commerce platform systems. Often, we wrongly think that these tools are only turnkey. However, there is everything to be gained by fully customizing them according to your needs and those of your market!