A Sodexo employee welcoming a soldier

The innovative services bringing together the military community

Published on : 1/29/21
  • Military life takes on a different meaning for everyone, based on their unique experience, but the need to adapt to new challenges and work together as a team is constant.

    We are proud to be part of military communities around the world, working in partnership to solve emerging challenges by offering new processes, technologies and applications. Our approach to innovation is driven by a complete understanding of the preferences, habits and requirements of people we serve. 

    Understanding the needs of the military 

    Creating services for our clients always starts with understanding the requirements of both our clients and consumers. We conduct research to identify and understand key issues affecting consumers, in this case military communities, and adapt our services based on the learnings from this research. 

    Our most recent research studies with armed forces personnel from France, the UK, and the US both confirmed and challenged our thinking.

    Over the course of our research, we observed that the priorities of our military clients have remained consistent across all three countries:

    • creating a ‘whole force’ belonging ethos
    • training and building an operationally capable force, and
    • supporting mental health.

    Some common themes also emerged across the three countries:

    • a need for services on base to include more variety in food, leisure activities and flexible opening hours adapted to current military lifestyle; and
    • pressure on whole military family, with spouse unemployment or isolation often a major pain point and financial strain.

    However, there were some notable key differences across the three geographies which helped shape the regionalization of our service offers.

    UK: Services to unify the whole military community

    The villageIn the UK our research uncovered an opportunity to create a greater sense of community on installations, not just for servicemen and women, but their families as well, bringing everyone together.

    Understanding this unique need, coupled with the requirement to evolve services on base to match the modern military lifestyle, led us to create the Village.

    The Village, presently deployed at Worthy Down Camp in the UK, is a one-stop, multifunctional space where the whole force can come together, create connections, build community and foster morale. With a dedicated manager and the latest technologies, the Village is a place that’s alive with positive energy, offering a calendar of events and activities, in a space that has something for everyone.     

    armed forces facilities management mess servicesEach Village is made up of three key zones; a social lounge, a gaming area and a micro theatre. All three areas are designed to bring people together, encourage collaboration and boost camaraderie. Food and beverage outlets can be included in the village to suit the needs of the consumers at each site.

    See the Village in action

    US: Flexible services suited to the new digital recruit

    In the US, our research revealed that the military community was keen to see a digital approach to their dining experience, similar to current trends in the civilian dining market.

    The charge appTo meet this need, we created the Charge app. Available for both iOS and Android phones, the Charge app gives U.S. Marines and sailors key information about their meals, supporting their ability to make healthy choices quickly and easily. Menu items can be filtered based on calorie limits and the Marine Corps ‘Fueled to Fight’ rating system makes it easy for each Marine to make informed dining selections.

    Marines can also give 100% anonymous feedback in real time via the app, enabling us to continually improve and adapt menus and operations to suit the people we serve. No sensitive user data is captured or stored and no log-ins are required to access the app. Feedback is linked to locations and time stamped.

    We’ve been serving defence communities around the world in this way for more than 25 years, keeping the people at the heart of what we do.

    Learn more about how we innovate to develop and deploy tangible services that positively impact the quality of life of the military communities we serve.

    Find out more about our... intentional innovation to support the military.

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