VR Innovation Summit

Aramark hosted its first International Innovation Summit last month in Santiago, Chile. The summit involved 700 attendees representing Aramark’s international leaders from nine countries, global clients, and technology partners from Germany to Korea.

“We recognize our responsibility to present and operationalize innovative ways to deliver food and facilities services that provide greater value for our clients and customers,” said Carl Mittleman, chief operating officer, Aramark International. “This event was a way to use our scale to bring our leadership, clients, and technical partners together to accelerate concepts that can make a difference.”

The summit featured a trade show environment with more than 100 technical applications including several that harness the benefits of virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence. For example, training programs for workers were introduced that use VR to immerse trainees into personalized environments to become more familiar with the workplace through virtual spaces and tools.

A new concept called "Foodlab" was demonstrated, which is designed to garner guest feedback to consistently change dining options based on direct consumer input. The feedback can lead to customization, such as regional menu preferences, collaborations with high profile restauranters, and partnerships with local purveyors that tailor the dining experience for the specific location.

The event also offered attendees a series of national and international keynote speakers and workshops focusing on innovation in areas such as consumer experiences, safety, sustainability, and circular economy as well as artificial intelligence.

Among the International speakers were Hassan Murad, CEO and co-founder of Intuitive AI, recognized by Forbes as one of the five rising entrepreneurs in AI, and Hyunjong Lee, the Global Business Development Head of the Korean company Nuvilab, who digitalize food through Artificial Intelligence and big data for better management of food production and waste.

“It was our intent to provide our leadership and functional teams with the right setting and some dedicated time to think about the possibilities to innovate together with our clients,” Mittleman adds.

Aramark has successfully hosted an innovation summit in Chile for several years. Because the format proved to be a best practice, the company decided to expand it to other countries for 2024.