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If you think about your company’s in-house dining options as potential employee perks, you’re opening the doors to more than just menu opportunities. Some of our biggest corporations recognize the benefits that come from taking care of their workforce with food services that redefine the traditional cafeteria experience.
Oracle was one of the first Silicon Valley startups to appreciate the advantages of upgrading on-site food services. That forward thinking quickly spread through the tech sector, and it’s a smart strategy that’s still working today for businesses of all types and sizes.
10 Scalable Ideas for Ramping Up Your Cafeteria
Some of the best onsite dining venues today include: Google with multiple themed eateries at its Mountain View headquarters; Microsoft offering 26 cafes, pantries and coffee stands on its campus at Redmond; and Facebook at Menlo Park featuring 11 cafeterias and world-class espresso.
Tech giants operate their kitchens and restaurants with huge budgets, but their approach to satisfying their workforce appetite is easily scalable. With these 10 menu ideas, you can upgrade food services at your business and deliver the perks that keep workers happy.
1. Serve More Than Lunch
Today’s busy employees flex around schedules that don’t fit traditional nine-to-five scenarios. Give them plenty of opportunities to fill up and stay charged from early mornings into late evenings. Offer breakfast, extend dinner hours, and consider serving from business opening to close.
2. Beat the Competition
While a few of the largest corporations pick up the dining tab for their workforce, most companies have to compete with nearby restaurants. Reasonable pricing and weekly specials keep employees in the building. Their meal-buying dollars keep your foodservice operation bottom line strong.
3. Diversify With Authenticity
You don’t need 40 dining rooms to develop culinary diversity. Put together different blends of cultures and cuisines with an emphasis on authenticity. Let house favorites share the spotlight with ethnic favorites to impress your in-house clientele. Diversity makes the experience deliciously interesting and fun.
4. Make the Highest Quality Your Standard
Always serve quality products and produce. From freshly baked breads to salads made with premium romaine hearts, the best onsite venues consistently maintain top-tier standards. This commitment to quality helps demonstrate the value your company puts on its employees.
5. Cater to Dietary Preferences
Extend respect for diversity in the workplace by covering different dietary preferences. Gluten-free dishes and vegetarian plates are quickly becoming in-house staples alongside traditional offerings. Your willingness to accommodate dietary requests can be a real boost to company recruitment and retention strategies.
6. Explore Organic Options
As you work with alternative menu choices, keep in mind that organic options appeal to employees across the board. Those who don’t have special dietary issues still like to eat healthy. From animal proteins to vegetables, well-prepared organic meals establish a positive reputation that encourages workers to dine in-house.
7. Market Local Sourcing
When you buy from local produce companies, you’re assured of access to fresh vegetables year-round. Employees enjoy menus that feature the best of the season, and they appreciate foodservice operations that support the local economy too. This kind of sourcing is both affordable and valuable marketing.
8. Recruit Local Talent
Consider bringing local culinary talent on board. An area chef with great reviews generates the kind of buzz that adds new excitement to foodservice operations. He or she can rework existing menus and develop signature dishes. You can attract the new hire with stable hours and corporate benefits.
9. Link Up With the Gym
If your company has an on-site workout facility, use it to promote onsite dining. This is an ideal area for informative posters and hand-out materials that showcase the healthy side of your foodservice operations. The company gym can serve as a venue for announcements about everything from seasonal vegetables to the latest organic offerings.
10. Develop Teaching Kitchen Programs
Employees enjoy classes that teach exciting cooking techniques. Put new taste into education by exploring Brussels sprouts as entrees, grilling alternatives to animal proteins and rolling out veggie-based pastas. Kitchen programs work for the company too because they help develop skills that keep the workforce healthy.
Satisfy Changing Appetites
As you develop different ideas for putting a fresh twist your company’s food services, never underestimate the power of employee input. You’re marketing to the same group every day, so ask them for their honest opinions. Let them know how much you value their response.
Whether you manage a small operation or coordinate multiple dining venues, employee tastes continue to evolve. We’re here to help you satisfy those changing appetites with the freshest premium produce available. You want the very best in your kitchens and on your tables. As your trusted produce grower and supplier, Hitchcock Farms always delivers.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.