How to Improve the Sodexo Coupon System?

by Vinaya HS on May 10, 2011

in Finance

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At work, I have the option to opt for Sodexo Meal Coupons. The income-tax benefits on these food coupons are good enough a reason to opt for this facility. But the physical-voucher form of these coupons really needs to change — especially when you have card-based equivalents for competition.

It’s a pain to use these physical coupons at merchant outlets. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve patiently waited in queues at retail grocery stores while people ahead in the queue fumble around with these coupons. Once you’re done fumbling around with these coupons, it’s the cashier’s turn to do the fumbling. Count, re-count, discover that the store can’t (or won’t) give you back cash for coupons in excess of the billed amount and other hassles that simply aren’t worth your time and energy.

If I were at Sodexo, I’d immediately switch to issuing card-equivalents. Imagine the cost-savings from printing charges that avoided (and the number of trees saved). Imagine the cost-savings from collection, storage, and other overhead charges avoided. And as one merchant exasperatedly told me: “Settlements would happen in a day and not in twenty days!”

Everyone in the Sodexo ecosystem would be much better off.

D’s office on the other hand issues the convenient card-based equivalent. The card is reloaded in the first week of each month.

Very cleverly, I’ve entered into a your-card-for-my-coupons swap agreement with her. I’ve swapped her card for the physical Sodexo vouchers which I get from my office in the first week of each month and which she then gives to her mom/dad. Her mom/dad luckily has the time, patience, and energy to use them for grocery shopping. Everyone’s happy in this ecosystem.

That said, I’m not sure if the Sodexo Group would read this post and implement my suggestion. But, What do you think?

Thanks for reading this article. I'd love to hear your opinion. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts. I frequently write new articles that also cover several other aspects of personal finance including credit cards, financial goals, health insurance, income tax, life insurance, mutual funds, retirement planning, and much more. You can Subscribe through Email and receive new articles directly in your Inbox or you can Subscribe through the RSS Feed and receive new articles in your feed reader.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam May 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Totally agree with you on the convenience of a card vs. the paper coupons.

My solution to avoid the fumbling and the counting (at least for my coupons!): I use my coupons only when the value of my purchase is greater than the booklet value. I hand over the sealed coupon booklet to the cashier, who does not bother to count it since he sees that it has not been opened.

Vinaya H S May 11, 2011 at 1:59 PM


Neat! Hope you don’t encounter “paranoid” cashiers. :-)

vinay May 11, 2011 at 7:37 PM

All I can say is “it’s a WOW Idea”

Anoop May 12, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Yeah! that would be a wise decision on part of companies to give out a sodexo card, but what about vendors who cannot accept card or don’t have the facility to do so?, therefore although I accept your opinion of Sodexo coupons being obsolete or the value being loaded into a card, I don’t think it would be a feasible option because of lots of issues…

vivek May 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM

hi vinay ,
its good that u have put this idea bt let me tell u that one of my frnd working with wipro is already using this card . so its good that u had some idea bt this idea is already in use……

siva rama krishna May 18, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Could you clarify that sodexo meal pass are tax free for fy 2011-2012

Vinaya H S May 19, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Yes they are. :-)

Raghvendra November 3, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Good points Vinay. I have attempted to fix at least 1 problem you have mentioned here = counting the coupons at billing counter.


Siddhartha February 28, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Sodexo probably would not switch to an electronic card (they already have the technology) as they will be liable by the following clause of the IT Act.

“The aggregate amount of ready to eat food or non-alcoholic beverage purchased during a day by an employee shall not exceed one hundred rupees.”

In an electronic system, Sodexo would need to enforce the above rule which will alienate a lot of consumers. In a paper based voucher system, Sodexo can very well claim unenforcability as it does not have any control.

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