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 surprising that the customized ERP project for Les Petits Chefs turned out to be a smashing success. Okay, well, why don’t we just tell you the story?
Les Petits Chefs is a growing family business that provides food services. Its primary mission is to serve nutritional meals to young children in daycares and elementary schools. Service excellence and fair prices are its core values—and let’s not forget innovation! And when innovation comes up, that’s where Libéo comes in!
While experiencing a strong period of growth, Les Petits Chefs decided to create a virtual 2.0 menu from which customers could place online orders for the contents of their children’s lunch boxes, while also more easily managing their children’s allergies. Internally, the platform also became an ERP system that could be used to manage kitchen operations, customer service and sales.
While developing the platform, several features were targeted:
- Online meal purchasing
- Allergy management based on meal ingredients
- Kitchen operations management
- Security and management of employee rights
- Complex reporting system (sales, operations, etc.)
- Management of order errors and customer service
- Platform available 24/7
Always start with an analysis
The main objective of Les Petits Chefs was to sell meals online. However, our team quickly realized that our client actually needed something much more complex—a platform that would become the hub of all the company’s operations.
That meant that the technology had to be scalable and robust enough to ensure that the platform would remain viable over the long term, so it could be a true investment. We decided to build the platform using Laravel 5, a modern, open-source framework written in PHP.
Imagining the solution
The allergy alert system is an important feature of the platform that notifies parents if they select a meal that contains ingredients their child is allergic to. The ERP linked to the transaction site forms a connection between the ingredients of the selected meals and the menu made available to parents in the school calendar.
In addition to the many features that are typical of e-commerce sites (order cancellation, refunds, etc.), the ERP allows company administrators to manage all kitchen operations using automation tools. Reports showing critical sales data, meals to be prepared and other pertinent data can be brought up with just a few clicks thanks to the intuitive, powerful administrative interfaces.
Selecting the right technology
From a back-end perspective, Laravel 5 was chosen for its scalability and for Eloquent, an object-relational mapping (ORM) tool with ActiveRecord. We used the ORM to simplify the numerous, complex database queries.
We automated deployment using a Docker software container, which also allowed us to package all dependencies and easily deploy them on any type of infrastructure. Using this method not only accelerates the initial deployment of the application but also ensures greater flexibility and better maintenance of the platform.
The results of this project are easy to understand and are all related to implementing an ERP. Using this type of tool results in better organization of business activities, time savings in terms of carrying out tasks, improved market competitiveness and even an increase in revenues. Les Petits Chefs was able to enjoy all of these benefits while also responding more effectively to the specific needs of its industry, including better allergy management. Today, we continue to support the company by making their tools increasingly innovative. Stay tuned!
In conclusion, this project led us to start collaborating with Les Petits Chefs over the long term. It also helped us to demonstrate how innovation can truly be a major asset, even when it comes to management systems (ERP/CRM). Often, people think of these tools as ready-made solutions. However, there is everything to gain from fully tailoring them to the needs of your company and market.
So, you’re interested in e-commerce?
How convenient—we’ve written several articles on the topic!