Redefining (and Refining) Corporate Dining
From the desk of NEXTEP Solutions Consultant Bob Padget…
The experience at the office cafeteria used to be predictable: waiting patiently as the cashier accounts for each item on your tray, your meatloaf special goes from hot to lukewarm. Cautiously balancing the tray, you look for an open seat. Tomorrow, you think to yourself, the fast food restaurant down the street might be a better choice.
Many corporate dining facilities have caught onto the unappealing scene laid out above and have re-invented themselves to win back corporate employees. Corporate dining operators are taking a long look at the competition, namely fast food and fast casual restaurants, and offering office employees a new and better alternative. Technology – and all the speed and convenience it offers – plays a key role in the new corporate dining café.
Here are 3 ways we’ve seen managed food service companies change the corporate dining game:
1. High quality food and plenty of variety.
Wellness programs and a general focus on higher quality, healthier options don’t go unnoticed in the corporate cafe. In fact, with touchscreen self-ordering, guests can easily see nutritional information for each menu choice, making a healthy lunch that much easier. Successful corporate cafes often also offer a varied menu that changes often, so as not to bore their guests. Using an integrated, cloud-based solution to operate POS and menu boards makes this concept palatable: operators can quickly and easily make menu changes in one place and see updates everywhere, immediately.
By implementing mobile ordering, corporate cafes give office employees the freedom to browse the menu and designate a specific time for pick up. No more waiting in line, whether it’s for dine in or even a carryout to be eaten at their desk. In fact, online/mobile ordering paired with self-order kiosks significantly decreases the long lines and waiting times that frustrate office employees with limited lunch hours.
One new system has given office employees yet another reason to stay in the building: payroll deduction programs. Inclining or declining balance accounts allow employees to charge their meal in the café using their employee ID. Coupled with a wellness initiative, this system can reward guests who make healthier choices with discounts or other incentives, automatically! Not to mention - with self-checkout kiosks, cafés can allow grab-and-go purchases to be made by employees during off hours without a cashier present.