There was a time when corporations weren’t horribly concerned about what was on the menu at their employee cafeterias. Those workers who weren’t brown bagging it from home were lucky to get a hot meal served at work. More often than not, they were fed from company leased vending machines.
But the “foodie” movement of the last decade that has affected how meals are served everywhere from restaurants to public schools has at last come to the business world.
Research has shown that businesses that provide filling, nutritious, appealing meals to workers are more likely to have productive and focused ones. And the disappearance of employee automats aren’t the only in house dining changes employers are making these days. Read on to learn of new changes impacting corporate food services.
1. Employee Expectations Are Greater
The “foodie” movement is no longer a novelty. One no longer needs to be a nutritionist to be aware of calories and the risks and benefits of certain kinds of food. The popularity of cooking television programs, classes, and books means that people are far more knowledgeable about how food is prepared and where it came from. This means that corporate food services need to offer workers not only more healthy eating options, but more ethnic and cultural choices as well.
2. Micro Meals
Research indicates that it’s healthier to eat many small meals throughout the day as opposed to three larger ones. Combine this trend with the on the go habits of many workers, and changes are being seen to dining facilities themselves. These areas are becoming smaller and more informal. The fare served at them seems to be more along the lines of snacks. But don’t expect soda and potato chips. Options include organic juices and teas, healthy salads, soups, and granola.
3. Eating Healthy
You are what you eat, and employers have been taking this saying very seriously over the last decade. As a result, many corporations have instituted “wellness programs” that focus on exercise and diet. These programs have proved very successful, with many companies reporting a near 80 percent employee compliance rate. In many cases, corporations are now hiring staff nutritionists in addition to offering healthy dining choices.
4. Knowing Where That Food Is Coming From
Restaurants are doing it. So are schools. And households are increasingly taking long looks at where their groceries are coming from and how they are produced. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that many businesses have adopted “responsible and sustainable food” policies for their own dining facilities. These include:
- providing food histories to employees
- responsible reuse and disposal of leftovers
- investing in projects like community gardens
5. If You Build It, They Would Come
Surveyed employees have indicated that they would use a new or upgraded dining facility if their corporation offered one. Employees who have utilized dining facilities made available through employers report more chances to professionally collaborate, and companies experience greater overall workplace morale. As a result, employers are making increasing dining facility investments including better food, new furnishings, and even WiFi.
One additional trend as a result of these other trends is the increasing use of offsite food services. Flexible, trendy, and often cheaper than in house food services, the use of these businesses is expected to increase over time. This is good news for such business owners, as corporations increasingly and appreciatively take another look at that lowly lunchroom.