Interview with Didier Tensi (Aramark BENELUX)

In the list of interviews in honour of our 10th anniversary, Didier Tensi could not miss out. During our long-term relation we have realized numerous achievements and are still closely working together on multiple impactful projects. We met Didier in 2016 during his time as CFO at Hella. In 2018, when he became CFO at Aramark BENELUX, we continued working together until the present day. Aramark is an American organization, which offers worldwide catering services, in working, caring entertaining and educational environments. Didier has a clear vision of the future and is an advocate of efficient, proactive and target-oriented way of working. With his entry in the firm, he realized that there was room for improvement for the financial department of Aramark BENELUX, in terms of efficiency and business support. So, in two years, together with TNXTO, he guided his team through implementations of two new systems and processes to optimize their workflows and outcomes. The first major project is the implementation of a new ERP and the second is a communication platform between the operation and finance.

When we asked Didier to look 10 years in the past and in the future, his main conclusion was that the world changed and it will keep changing.

“You have to keep adapting, if you notice that you’re not capable of changing, than the alarm bells should go off”

The role of CFO
The role of the CFO is no longer the sole of treasury keeper and Didier is very motivated by that. He feels that his role is to commit as much to the growth of the organization as possible by looking further than his responsibility over the financial situation of the company to contribute to the whole latitude. Therefore, he wants no longer to do just ‘the necessary’ to be compliant and meet the targets, but implement ways to analyse, monitor and seize opportunities that serve the organization commercially too.

Trends in the catering industry
The Aramark organization finds itself in an immensely dynamic industry. Different trends keep developing making it a challenge to align with the changing needs of consumers in order to keep adding value to the market.

Transparency & Security
Customers expect to obtain all information about the food they want to consume. Laws and regulations oblige food suppliers to be transparent about origin, processed ingredients that may cause allergies, the amount of calories, expiration date and much more. Aramark offers services to hospitals and caring homes, where people are on a strict diet, so it is crucial that the food that is served to patients is compliant to the regulations and needs.

Waste Management & Sustainability
Worldwide people care more and more about the wellbeing of the earth and waste management is a hot topic when it comes to sustainability. Consumers want the food to be provided in plastic-free packaging and even request to reduce as much waste as possible, preferably zero waste. Also, it is desired that the food is as local as possible to avoid big CO2 emissions due to transport. An organization such as Aramark has to take social responsibility to contribute to the world’s sustainability by engaging in this trend.

Healthy & Biological
Awareness about eating healthy is another trend that has been gaining more and more importance. Not only in hospitals and caring homes, but also in schools and corporate buildings a healthy and varied menu is required by Aramark’s clients. Besides healthy ingredients, is the way the food is processed of value for consumers, meaning it should be as biological and local as possible. Together with health experts, Aramark is making sure they fulfil this need of its clients.

Customer centric & data driven
Consumers are individuals all with different needs. All facilities where Aramark offers their services are different, so in order for the organization to answer successfully the needs of their clients, it has to operate customer centric. This means that Aramark has to be aware of the segment attributes and customer journey. A big data bank and efficient management allows the company to serve every individual according to their specific needs ranging from kitchen equipment and furniture to uniforms, cleaning tools and of course, the food.

2020 Challenge
The COVID19 pandemic has created an acceleration of the above trends adding the social distance development. With many countries in temporary lockdown, the catering industry finds itself in a particular challenge and had to find disruptive ways to respond to the crisis. Didier Tensi and his colleagues from Aramark undergo a period of crisis management whilst looking for new ways to ensure a sustainable roadmap for the future.

We as The Next Organization are proud to being able to support and cooperate with Didier and his team in order to bring organizations to the next level. If you are interested in knowing more about process optimization, system implementation or customer journey mapping or you want to share your opinion on this article, feel free to contact us.

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