Many workers have found their stride during the work from home movement, replacing long commutes with Zoom calls and business casual with yoga pants. In fact, there may not be much to miss from our days spent in the office, except lunch! Many of us are finding it hard to eat right while working from the home office.
Companies like Google and Facebook have already announced plans to allow employees to continue to work from home through the end of 2020, and Twitter wants to allow employees to work from home indefinitely. Most of us will return to work eventually, but if we had an on-site dining option it may look different than it did before.
Just like the rest of the restaurant industry, on-site cafes will need to adjust their patterns to allow for more social distancing and limit contact as much as possible. Here are 5 changes you can expect to see from business dining in 2020:
Healthier Food Options
It’s natural to crave comfort foods during times of stress. Many of us have added a pound or two during quarantine due to added stress and sudden changes in habits. Some of us are using this time to make healthy lifestyle choices. A recent Restaurant Business Poll stated that 43% of consumers are currently eating less fast food that they regularly do. Many more of us are also cooking (32%) and baking (33%) at home and plan to continue the habit post quarantine. So whether your goal is to lose a few or just make better choices, healthier options will be on the table post-covid.
Employee cafes are expecting to see between 50%-70% of normal business during the first few months of reopening. That, along with fluctuation in the supply chain, may mean focusing on a “comeback” menu to start. For cafes that focus on offering fresh ingredients and produce it will take some time to gauge demand and how much to order. Easing back into the full menu will help reduce unnecessary waste.
Salad Bars and Self-Service
Once a staple of workday lunches, it’s unlikely that salad bars or other self-services stations will return anytime soon. Instead many cafes may opt for made-to-order options, making online ordering a top priority. This way consumers can still get a personalized salad with all their favorite toppings while minimizing contact with other staff.
Pick Up and Delivery
Along with the shift to MTO, consumers will want to have the ability to pick up meals or even have them delivered to maintain social distancing. This could mean multiple pickup stations throughout the building to prevent congregation in dining areas or cafeterias.
A few months ago no one batted an eye at handing our credit card to the employee at the drive through. Post-covid there will be an emphasis on sanitation over speed at the check out. For sales that can’t be made through online ordering, a game plan for POS sanitation should be put in place. This could include cleaning the POS terminal between transactions or having employees change gloves or use hand sanitizer between customers. Cafes may also want to give customers condiments, napkins, and flatware at check out rather than having those items be self-service.
Whether you love working from home or are eager to return to the office, every employee deserves great food to fuel their workday. If you’re lucky enough to already have on-site dining you will probably see a few changes to your program when you return. For companies whose employees can’t work from home indefinitely, amenities like on-site cafes can really make a difference when attracting fresh talent. Now may be the perfect time to talk about an on-site dining program at your office space. Contact us to learn more!