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As a corporate foodservice director, you’re responsible for everything from managing inventory to scheduling staff. Part of the job includes tracking the latest corporate cafeteria menu ideas and implementing them into daily operations.
You want your employee cafeteria menu to be cost-effective, easy to prep and simple to serve. It should also be more than a selection of sandwiches and sides. You want it to be one of the important perks that helps your company recruit and retain a quality workforce.
10 Company Cafeteria Menu Ideas That Impress Employees
The best onsite dining experiences make sure employees stay put for meal breaks. As the foodservice industry tracks their preferences and reports on corporate cafeteria trends, you stay on top of it all. These 10 ideas can help you continue to impress employees in your company’s dining room every day.
1. Start With Breakfast
Help your company’s workforce get off to a great start every morning. Open the cafeteria for breakfast with a variety of healthy options. Let employees serve themselves at breakfast taco buffets and make-your-own waffle stations. Include fruit bowls, made-to-order omelets and fresh muffins.
Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names jump-start their workers’ mornings with free breakfasts. When you consider the benefits, this corporate foodservice strategy can be an excellent fit with your operations.
2. Showcase Healthy Salads
Nutritional salads serve as both enticing sides and delicious entrees. They’re healthy alternatives to chips and fries, and they’re photogenic candidates for snapping, tweeting and sharing. Wow employees with colorful presentations of baby iceberg lettuce in caprese salads, or impress them with Caesar salads crafted around crisp romaine hearts.
3. Upgrade Comfort Food
From breakfast biscuits and gravy to mini meatloaf lunches, comfort food can be a healthy choice for your company’s employees. Renew interest in the corporate dining room with lighter versions of these classics.
• Pancakes, waffles and frittatas
• Soups, stews and stroganoffs
• Scampi, lasagna and pasta dishes
• Chicken pot pies, tetrazzinis and casseroles
• Mac and cheese, shepherd’s pie and cassoulets
4. Keep Ethnic Cuisine Authentic
Reflect your company’s diversity in the cafeteria with ethnic cuisines that all employees can enjoy. Respect their discerning tastes by keeping every dish authentic. Expand your kitchen’s talents with recipes from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Rotating cultural cuisines on your cafeteria’s line keeps interest high and employees happy.
5. Serve Sustainable Seafood
This is another idea for corporate cafeterias that really appeals to a health-conscious workforce. Demonstrate your company’s commitment to sustainability by offering employees a wide range of ocean-friendly choices.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch serves as an excellent resource for independent information covering seasonal selections, alternative seafoods and even sushi options. These are just a few of their recommendations.
• Atlantic, coho and chinook salmon
• Yellowfin, albacore and skipjack tuna
• Rainbow and lake trout
• Shrimp, crab and oysters
6. Let Them Build Their Own
Give employees in the cafeteria plenty of options for customizing their meals. Wake them up for breakfast with choices in omelette fillings and sides. Engage their taste for healthy dishes with a variety of ingredients for build-your-own poke bowls and nutritious selections from the salad bar.
7. Let Them Wrap It Up
Wraps continue to hold their own as healthy alternatives to sandwiches and burgers. They can serve employees with another way to customize a meal, or you can put together different combinations for quick pick up from a dedicated wrap station. Keep it all nutritious with these ideas for wrapping up your kitchen’s creativity.
• Premium romaine lettuce wraps
• Spicy sriracha fish wraps
• Chicken Caesar wraps
• Housemade spinach tortilla wraps
• Greek pita and tzatziki wraps
8. Bring on the Smoke
The array of equipment available for in-house smoking makes this cooking technique ideal for company kitchens. The deep flavors of slow-smoked meats and sides are sure to draw employees into the cafeteria. It’s a winning recipe for winning renewed interest in onsite dining.
It’s also a great way to feed the crowds at corporate events and executive retreats. Cater single occasions by slow smoking in-house, or set up equipment for several days of off-site cooking at an event facility.
9. Make Vegan Versatile
Smoked dishes don’t have to be all about brisket and ribs. Consider the delicious possibilities of barbecued vegan side dishes. Your company’s workforce is a diverse group, so serve them versatile vegan options that appeal to all dietary preferences. Fill up your recipe files with veggie-centric sides and entrees that take advantage of root-to-stem cooking.
Designate a station in your corporate cafeteria for daily vegetarian specials that reflect the season. Let employees know you’re sourcing from suppliers who share the company’s commitment to sustainability.
10. Don’t Forget the Snacks
Make the workplace cafeteria a welcoming spot where employees can take a break, socialize and snack. Give them guilt-free alternatives to vending machines. Encourage kitchen staff to develop signature snacks around these healthy ideas.
• Crispy oven-roasted Brussels sprout chips
• Housemade trail mix, popcorn and pretzels
• Exotic fruit bowls filled with kumquats, guavas and lychees
• Fresh veggie trays sided with flavored yogurt dips
You’re Part of the Positive Changes
Managing a cafeteria in a corporate facility presents unique challenges. You have to stay in sync with employee schedules while you satisfy their appetites for healthy food and menu variety. Non-commercial foodservice settings are evolving for the better every day, and it’s exciting to be a part of the positive changes.
We’re proud to support your efforts by sharing industry tips, trends and inspiration. We’re also proud to grow, pack and ship our premium produce to foodservice operations all across the country. Here at Hitchcock Farms, we understand how hard you work, and we’re always at your service.
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.