Sodexo Boosts Use of Employee Cafeterias with First Data

Sodexo, a world leader in food and facilities management services with 10 million customers in 6,000 locations every day including 2,700 employee on-site restaurants, recently launched a First Data GO-Tag™ solution pilot program. Sodex employees resoundingly agreed that the easy-to-use contactless prepaid payment option is a winner.

A First Data gift card client, Sodexo was looking for ways to expand its “cashless solutions” at employee on-site restaurants to help make the on-site restaurant the first stop for corporate employees, encourage repeat use and increase sales while maximizing the speed of service. They launched a pilot program with First Data to test a prepaid, contactless payment solution.

Based on First Data’s GO-Tag™ solution, the SoGo Cash Card/Tag program allows users to load funds to a prepaid account and use their choice of a spending card or sticker to make purchases at select First Data cafeterias. Users loaded funds to a prepaid account and made purchases at select First Data cafeterias using a sticker that could be placed on any convenient object, such as an employee badge or cell phone, allowing purses and wallets to be left behind.

Compared with a control group using only a standard, magnetic-stripe card, the SoGo Cash Tag sticker resulted in significant increases in frequency of visits to employee cafeterias, frequency of reloads, number of redemptions and redemption amounts.


First Data employees using the SoGo Cash Tag took to the program in much greater numbers than those using conventional, magnetic-stripe spending cards at the control group’s corporate cafeteria. The difference can be attributed primarily to the increased convenience from the sticker form factor, the speed of the contactless transaction, and the easy-to-use reload process.

Benefits to Sodexo

  • Increased cafeteria transactions per day
    • The pilot program achieved a participation rate of 32 percent overall, with 1,244 employees participating out of a total of 3,800
  • Increased in average ticket size
    • In comparison to pre-pilot average expenditures per employee, the pilot average was 10.2 percent higher JJ
  • Shorter transaction time
    • Time trials at the First Data cafeterias showed that transactions using the prepaid cards and stickers were approximately twice as fast as cash transactions, and five times faster than credit and debit card transactions (both of which required signatures)

“These results show that the SoGo Cash Card and Cash Tag program can help change the behavior of Sodexo’s customers,” noted Lisa Fugate, First Data Marketing Director. “The results definitely met our expectations, and in some cases significantly exceeded them.”

In addition, surveys of First Data employees show that the program is generating significantly increased customer satisfaction. Typical comments from pilot participants include:

  • “Love not carrying my wallet.”
  • “Really love it—especially not having to sign anything, it is truly tap and go.”
  • “I spend a fraction of the time in line paying than I did before.”

Sodexo is also pleased with the results of the pilot program.

“Our new SoGo Cash Card program is off to a promising start,” says Bill Mitchell, Senior Director of Brand Management for Sodexo Corporate Services.

Based on the tremendous success of the pilot program, Sodexo is launching the program at additional on-site restaurants it operates around the world.