Cross-interview with Paul Quipourt, Director of Transformation at Elior France, and Sixte de Vauplane, founder of Nestor: "We are delighted to share our savoir-faire and to construct the next stage in our development, together.”
Can you describe the service offered by Nestor in a few words?
Sixte de Vauplane Nestor is a start-up that I co-founded in 2015 with Benoît d'Arrouzat. Our initial mission was to prepare and deliver meals to employees in the Paris region. At first, we operated exclusively in the B2C segment delivering tens of thousands of meals per week to individuals at their place of work or at home.
Our commercial success was based on a simple model, with four factors that differentiated us vis-à-vis the competition: (i) a single starter, main course and dessert formula that changed every day, (ii) hot main-course delivery to avoid queuing for microwave reheating, (iii) a 100% home-made production with the meals of the day prepared by Nestor teams in rented kitchen spaces, and finally (iv) a set of algorithms and a digital ordering platform allowing us to optimize our delivery flows and minimize food waste.
However, despite the commercial success of our offer, the B2C model proved unsatisfactory in terms of profitability due to the vast amount of individual deliveries made to a very large number of destinations. For this reason, in 2020 we made a gradual shift into the B2B market by contracting directly with companies and thus evolve towards adopting a more profitable shared-delivery model.
Why did the Elior group decide to acquire the Nestor start-up?
Paul Quipourt For two main reasons.
First of all, the needs of our B2B customers have changed with the sanitary crisis. On the one hand, we have small corporate customers and small sites of our large accounts, which, in a context of uncertain attendance rates and cost pressure, are seeking more flexible yet qualitative catering models, that do not require on-site production and which would allow them to reduce their fixed costs and / or transform their catering areas. On the other hand, we also cater for larger sites that are looking to diversify and expand their existing offers beyond the traditional self-service in order to offer catering solutions that meet the expectations of their on-site employees and their new usages, including those of employees working from home.
In addition, the needs of employees have also changed and demand for a more varied, more digital offer is growing, approaching the codes used in commercial catering. This trend is not specific to the sanitary crisis but has been latent for some time, due notably to corporate work-force rejuvenation. It has recently gathered pace with the generalization of click & collect and delivery solutions, which have benefited from the various lock-downs and curfews.
Nestor has crafted a solid brand image in the Paris region and responds to this demand for original and balanced recipes. To meet these two major needs that we have identified, we will therefore support Nestor's repositioning on the B2B segment, by leveraging its agility and innovation capacity.
Nestor has crafted a solid brand image in the Paris region and responds to this demand for original and balanced recipes.
Paul Quipourt - Director of transformation at Elior France
What sets Nestor apart from other Food Tech players?
Sixte de Vauplane While Nestor shares similar characteristics with other Food Tech players, such as centralized production of its food offering and service models that cover all needs (such as grouped corporate deliveries, on-site corners, connected fridges, teleworking), Nestor differentiates itself through its savoir-faire and unique features.
Our food offer is one of a kind in that we invite our customers to take a real culinary journey: with our international team of 11 chefs and culinary influencers from all over the world (Thailand, Turkey, Greece, Spain, etc.) together with our Nestor chef, we offer a choice of at least 3 different dishes every day, including our “travel” dish co-signed by one of our international chefs, as well as more traditional dishes created by our Nestor chef.
With a catalog of more than 200 recipes, prepared in kitchen workshops with fresh, seasonal products and without the addition of additives and preservatives, we are also able to offer our customers a different menu every day.
In addition, we are the only Food Tech player capable of delivering corporate-client employees hot meals that can be consumed immediately. This is made possible by our thermal food container delivery process which which eliminates waiting line at microwave stations.
With this model, we can make deliveries to companies with or without kitchen spaces. We have developed several models that we believe meet all needs: (i) grouped delivery which requires no on-site investment for the customer, (ii) the Nestor counter, a catering area hosted by a dedicated Nestor Stewart to serve and assist employees on site, (iii) connected fridges, particularly for sites that operate round the clock; and (iv) an offer for employees working from home, who can have cold quality menus delivered every week directly to their homes.
Our food offering is one of a kind in that we invite our customers to take a real culinary journey: with our international team of 11 chefs and culinary influencers from all over the world.
Sixte de Vauplane - Founder of Nestor
Paul Quipourt - What we liked about Nestor was above all the company’s values and the importance it gives to taste and home cooking, which is not the case for all Food Tech companies. who often tend to outsource their production. At Elior, we share these same values since we are first and foremost cooks.
While Nestor will bring a lot to Elior, particularly in terms of communication with guests and its logistics model, we will be able to provide them with our culinary and nutritional expertise in order to strengthen their differentiation in the B2B market, while respecting their savoir-faire and identity of course. For example, we would like to work hand-in-hand with Nestor to facilitate access for guests to nutritional and CSR information with Nutri-Score or Eco-Score
How do you envisage the future together?
Paul Quipourt For Elior, the takeover of the Nestor start-up, has given us access to new markets. We can offer catering solutions to a clientele that we could not reach before, that of SMEs, which lack the necessary infrastructure to produce fresh, healthy and balanced meals. Nestor's offer also allows us to deal with the structural change created by teleworking, by delivering directly to employees' homes or by offering them the opportunity to collect their meals directly from a connected fridge, for example. Finally, Nestor adds a new string to our bow in that we can offer our current customers a new offer, in addition to our current solutions, so that we can continue to better meet the expectations of employees on site. As a reminder, before the health crisis, on average 50 to 60% of corporate employees had lunch in the company canteen and our challenge is to develop the right type of offers to attract employees and increase this rate.
We are therefore very pleased to welcome Nestor into the Elior fold, as this constitutes a new growth driver to acquire new customers, in the medium and long term. We are delighted to share our savoir-faire and to construct the next stage in our development, together.
We are therefore very pleased to welcome Nestor into the Elior fold, as this constitutes a new growth driver to acquire new customers, in the medium and long term.
Paul Quipourt - Director of transformation at Elior France
Sixte de Vauplane The takeover of Nestor by the Elior Group will allow us to benefit from very strong commercial synergies so that we can extend our positioning towards the Group's business customers, and consolidate our commercial development with SME customers. For us, this operation will enhance our capabilities and reinforce our B2B expertise. Thanks to the support of Elior, we will be able to develop our customer portfolio and establish ourselves in large urban centers throughout France.