Api Restauration goes further in its commitments – Le Journal des Entreprises

Founded in 1956, the API Restauration company based in Mons-en-Baroeul, in the Lille suburbs, and run by Damien and Béatrice Debosque, children of the butcher-delicatessen founders in Lille, has continued to grow steadily on average by 10% for twenty years. “The company started with the delivery of meat to a few restaurants and a meal catering activity delivered in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, relates Béatrice Debosque, general manager of Api. When my brother and I joined the company of our parents, we proceeded to the opening of sites in the regions from the beginning of the 90s”. Today, the network in France is complete with 47 regional offices. The group (817 million euros in turnover in 2022, 10,300 employees) is also established in three European countries (Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg) and generates 10% of its turnover there, mainly with German activity accounting for 8%. Growth in 2022 even shows an increase in turnover of more than 23%. It is proximity which is one of the strategic elements of development: “Even if we are present everywhere in France, we continue to open sites as soon as the workforce exceeds 250 employees in our establishments in the region”, explains Béatrice Debosque . At the end of 2021, Api took a majority stake in the Montpellier SME Languedoc Restauration (220 employees, 2020 turnover: €15 million). “We are open to opportunities when they arise, but it is always when there are men and women we know that we are interested in proposals”, supports the general manager.

Mission-driven company

The leaders now want to continue to grow the group by highlighting the social and environmental objectives to which they are committed. Api has indeed modified its statutes at the very end of 2022 and thus becomes a company with a mission, as defined by the Pacte law of 2019. “This allows us in a clear and transparent way to write what we are , what we do and where we want to go”, analyzes Béatrice Debosque. “This gives meaning to our profession by perpetuating our commitments and by displaying the group’s desire to have a social and societal role”, adds the general manager who recalls that collective catering, originally, “is a social catering “. A tour of the regions is organized to inform employees of this change in status and detail the four stated missions. “They have to be able to fully understand the issues and take ownership of them, asks Béatrice Debosque. This is not a marketing approach on our part. It involves the way we all work and we must also explain it to the all of our stakeholders”. The objectives will be evaluated by a mission committee made up of internal and external representatives. Two of the children of the Debosque families, 3e generation and future successors who will take the helm of Api in a few years, integrate the company via this committee in charge of monitoring missions. It speaks in particular of conscious cooking and decentralized and participatory governance. Api will also be subject to an external audit, every two years, to check the adequacy between the statements and the practices of the company.

Waste reduction

Sustainable development and contributing to the protection of the planet are nothing new for the family group, which has always cooked using regional and seasonal products. There is no central purchasing office for the supply of fresh produce: it is the chefs, site by site, who obtain fruit, vegetables and meat from local sources. Api has been thinking about reducing food waste for over ten years. “We now ask the teams to regularly weigh the bio-waste” explains Laure Lagier, CSR director of Api. IT tools at head office enable us to compare all the data from our sites on an annual basis. We have thus calculated an average weight of waste per meal: it is 93 grams in 2022. That is a total reduction of 22% compared to the first year of registration, in 2019″. The northern team of four people in charge of corporate social responsibility regularly travels to Api’s regional sites to work with the fifty or so CSR referents “We travel to the field to see how to develop and implement, with employees, CSR practices. transition, save resources and energy, decarbonize our operations”, supports Laure Lagier.

The company offers expertise for three trades: the integral management of restaurants (all the staff working there, purchase of raw materials, preparation of meals), meals delivered and technical assistance for managing supply or fitting out of kitchens and restaurant rooms for client companies. Api operates in four sectors of activity: for companies, for education (from early childhood to higher education), for seniors (accommodated in independent residences or nursing homes) and in the health sector (in particular clinics and hospitals).

The challenge of recruitment

Becoming a company with a mission as a large committed group could be part of the solution to managing recruitment, which is increasingly difficult in the catering trades. “Young people want their actions to have an impact, notes Béatrice Debosque. It’s up to us to live up to their expectations and know how to question ourselves. The more we open up the company, the more likely we will be to welcome them.” Api works more on learning and wishes to communicate on the attractions of certain more advantageous schedules than in traditional catering. “Recruitment is a real challenge, underlines the general manager. We are looking for compensation to offer when there is work on weekends, for example.” The group also values ​​its strengths: training and career development opportunities. Api’s 100% family and employee shareholding may also be of interest to new recruits: 10% of the company’s capital is held by employees regardless of function.

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