Ever get the feeling that your company’s cafeteria program just isn’t working? Those old, predictable corporate lunch menus just aren’t appetizing to today’s workforce, and it’s driving down participation. Instead of adapting and investing in higher-quality food, legacy cafeteria providers only seem interested in asking for higher subsidies. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and the best fix may be to start over with a modern solution.
Here are five reasons that today’s smartest companies are rethinking their cafeteria programs.
1) Menu fatigue is a big problem, and it’s getting worse
When employees are presented with the same menu options every day, menu fatigue — culinary boredom combined with decreased participation — is inevitable. Legacy cafeteria providers only have so many bulk-purchased ingredients and corporate-approved recipes to work from. Is it any wonder that on-site catering, restaurant pop-ups, and meal-delivery are catching the attention of forward-thinking employers?
2) Authenticity matters to today’s workers
It’s hard to get excited about Taco Tuesday when it’s the same old rice, ground beef, and veggies on offer every day, only mixed with a generic “Mexican” flavor packet. Why would workers settle for another lackluster cafeteria meal when there is a great, authentic Tex-Mex place right down the road that serves delicious and original menu items? To keep participation high, employees need better options.
3) The legacy cafeteria model is broken — and expensive!
Most cafeteria providers just can’t make ends meet without subsidies from their host companies. They also have their own profits to worry about, meaning that it’s actually in their interests to reduce their costs by buying cheaper ingredients, hiring less-experienced cooks, and cutting corners when planning their corporate lunch menus. That’s a bad deal for the host company, particularly when compared to cost-neutral and cost-saving alternatives that deliver an ever-changing selection of authentic, tasty food right to their employees.
4) Excellent on-site food is an incredible perk
When a company provides high-quality, mouth-watering, wallet-friendly dining options to its employees, it’s a good indication that they actually care about the people they hire. It’s also the kind of perk that can tip the scales for new hires, including the 46% of self-described “foodies” that make up the Millennial generation. In terms of retention, it’s also a hard perk to give up.
5) Food trends are changing, and it’s always better to be ahead of the curve
The legacy cafeteria model is been in decline for decades, and for many businesses those programs have already become too expensive to continue. At the same time, we’re living through a culinary renaissance, with authentic, delicious, healthy, and fairly priced food being readily available. It’s inevitable that companies will need to change their workplace dining options with something more modern, rather than being left behind.
By rethinking their corporate lunch menus, innovative companies are doing more than simply providing better food options for their staff, reducing overhead, and creating a compelling new perk for hiring and retention. They’re future-proofing the business itself.