HR & Workplace Innovation

Why Office Catering Services Are So Popular Right Now

Why Office Catering Services Are So Popular Right Now

They’re in your office conference room. They’re on your friends’ Twitter and Instagram feeds, showing off. They’re dropping off food for your team, every single day. It seems like office catering services are everywhere.

Maybe because they are. More news outlets report that office catering services are drawing investors and rapidly growing in California and around the country, suggesting a greater momentum behind these catering companies and the businesses they serve.

Wondering why these services are becoming so popular? Here’s why:

In business meetings, control the environment
If you’ve ever watched any sporting event in your life, you’re probably familiar with the term, “home court advantage.” It’s true outside the arena, too.

Rather than taking a potential client out to lunch, or hosting an important quarterly meeting in a restaurant’s event space – with variables like environment, crowds, wait times, and more breaking up the peace – you can host a business lunch at the office.

Plus, many office catering companies provide lots of options – serve-yourself or staffed meals, boxed lunches or family style, the list goes on. This gives you the opportunity to tailor the feel of the meeting or event.

It makes financial sense
It’s not just cash-flush Silicon Valley companies that are offering catered office lunches to their employees or using the service to streamline the special events they host. More businesses are seeing the value in providing lunch for their staff. This employee perk offers recruiting and retention benefits (you can find more retention strategies here – a survey of workers at companies that provide free food found 67 percent were “very” or “extremely” happy with their jobs. Keeping your employees saves money – it can cost up to 50 to 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace them!

More (quality) time during the lunch hour
It’s important to encourage balance in the workday. There’s a lot of value in gathering around the break room table and checking in with co-workers. Research has shown the immense positive impact taking group breaks and increasing in-person interactions can have on employees’ productivity.

For instance, a study conducted by social media company the Draugiem Group found the most productive people were those who averaged 17 minutes of break time for every 52 minutes of focused work. Via time-tracking and productivity app DeskTime, the company found the most productive 10 percent of users would approach their working periods as sprints. They would then take complete breaks from their computers to do a little exercise or have a non-work-related chat with colleagues.

As UC-Davis management professor Kimberly Elsbach told Time magazine in 2012, “Never taking a break from very careful thought work actually reduces your ability to be creative … It sort of exhausts your cognitive capacity and you’re not able to make the creative connections you can if your brain is more rested.” Basically, skipping that midday break means you’re “not doing yourself any favors.”

It’s obvious that a corporate food program provides convenience, allowing employees to focus on all the other pressing tasks of their day instead of what they’re going to eat for lunch and how they’re going to get it. But there’s definitely more to it – office catering services allow for more control, drive down costs, and drive up positivity and productivity in your office.