How often do you eat in your company’s cafeteria? If you’re like most professionals, it’s probably uncommon. Office cafeteria participation has dwindled for the last 20 years. Here are some reasons why:
Lack of Variety
“Same old, same old.” is the saddest response to “What are you having for lunch today?” Unfortunately, the response is all too common in companies across the country. Predictable, mediocre food is hard to get excited about. Cafeterias are known for repeating the same tired menus week after week, which eventually leads to menu fatigue—that sense of utter boredom about seeing the same rotating set of options.
When menu fatigue hits, employees look elsewhere for variety, and a cycle begins. It causes the cafeteria to become less profitable. To combat the loss of revenue, prices begin to creep up. And when today’s cafeterias offer lower-quality options for higher prices, more customers begin to look elsewhere for lunch. The decline of office cafeteria participation continues.
Lack of Authenticity
Authentic lunch options matter most to younger employees. Have you heard about the growing popularity of locally-sourced food? Forbes recently concluded that the uptick in locally sourced, gourmet-quality foods is largely a product of Millennial preferences. This doesn’t bode well for corporate cafeteria food services companies, because in an effort to cut costs, they order most of their food in bulk from other food corporations. This means the same rice, beans, and veggies in your burrito are also in the Indian or Mediterranean offerings a few feet away. Authenticity is rarely found in a giant tin can.
The cafeteria’s loss has been restaurant’s gain. While in-office participation has been shrinking, the options outside of the workplace have been improving.
These days, great restaurants are easy to find. Unfortunately, there usually isn’t enough time to get out of the office. About ⅔ of workers between the ages of 18 and 35 take less than 45 minutes for lunch. Delivery is an option, but it’s high costs prevents it from being a viable daily option. At Fooda, we believe a better onsite lunch solution is needed to increase office cafeteria participation.