Right now, your business might have a lot of employees working from home due to COVID-19. Of course, when the majority of your workforce is at home, an employee lunch program doesn’t seem like something you need to worry about. However, there will be a time where we are all working together again. When your employees eventually return to work, office perks, like a dining program, will be an important focus.
There are several good reasons to serve food and snacks to your employees. That’s why large companies like Facebook, Google, and eBay have been doing it for years.
A survey of 1,000 full-time office workers found that 56% of employees are “extremely” or “very” happy with their job. However, that number rises to 67% for those employees who have access to free food.
If you choose to implement a new dining program within the next few months, employees will be especially excited about it when they return to work. They’ve most likely spent the past few months cooking at home and getting sick of the same rice and bean concoctions. They’ll be happy to dine out, try new dishes, and share a meal with others. And your company will also see several benefits from providing employees with free food, like increased productivity and stronger team relationships.
Five Benefits of an Employee Meal Program
One of the biggest benefits of a dining program is that you’ll help your employees be happier and healthier. They’ll have easy access to healthy meals and snacks throughout their day.
Have you ever forgotten your lunch at home and then had to run to the nearest fast-food spot for a quick bite? We all have. But, with a meal program that provides breakfast and lunch to employees, nobody will ever have to worry about this again. They’ll have a healthy option just steps away and won’t have to rely on a burger and fries. If your dining program allows for online ordering options, employees can even plan ahead for their lunch and set a healthy tone for the whole day.
By serving breakfast and lunch, you’re removing the difficulty some people have getting to work on time. Your team won’t have to stop for breakfast on the way in or spend time making eggs at home. When it comes to lunch, employees don’t have anxiety about what to eat, where to go, or about restaurants having a long wait during prime lunch hours. They’ll be able to take a real lunch break without worrying about getting back to work on time.
Plus, this is cost-effective. Even if you can save an employee 30 minutes each day of the week for 50 weeks a year, that’s 125 hours of downtime you’ve avoided.
About 81% of employees who take a lunch break each day say they have a strong desire to be an active member of their company. A true lunch break gets employees up and walking and can improve energy and focus. Sitting at a desk from morning until post-lunch can lead to unproductive, mid-afternoon slumps (we’ve all been there!).
Stronger Employee Relationships
About 62% of professional employees eat lunch at their desks. When an employee eats at their desk, they’re most likely eating alone and attempting to work during what should be their lunch break. Constantly working throughout the day can lead to burnout. It’s called a lunch “break” for a reason. When you serve lunch in your break room, your staff will be more likely to socialize with team members or sit with others they usually don’t get to collaborate with at the company. Serving lunch also shows employees that you are encouraging them to take an actual break during their busy days.
Support Your Local Economy
By instituting a dining program for employees, you have the opportunity to support your local economy by ordering fresh food and/or meals from local producers and restaurants. Employees will know where their food comes from, while you get to help other businesses in your community. This may be especially important as the world tries to get back into a “normal routine” and restaurants and producers try to recoup the business they may have lost during the pandemic.
How to Implement an Employee Meal Program
Before you choose a dining program, we recommend talking to your employees to see what they would want from company-provided meals. What do they typically eat during the day? What would make them happier at work? What dietary restrictions does your team have?
Once you have some thoughts from your employees, start vetting dining program providers to see who can meet your business’s needs. Think about how you want meals to be served. Are you looking for onsite catering, online ordering, coffee shops, food trucks, micro-markets, or a combination of different service styles?
Top Nosh offers customized, scalable on-site dining solutions that fit your workplace culture and needs. We’ll provide employees with meals made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients and food options for health-conscious employees and those with dietary restrictions. Plus, we send out frequent food surveys so you’re getting regular feedback about your dining program.
If you’re excited about the opportunity to create an engaging workplace-dining environment that will boost health and productivity, contact us here.