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Adding a Cafeteria to Your Office Building?

From time to time, this question enters the minds of business leaders and building owners. People need to find food to eat during the day, and your place of work could be turned into a source of nourishment for the needs of its workers. However, business leaders must decide whether it makes sense to put together the cafeteria services on their own. Alternatively, there are corporate cafeteria companies that offer catering services for employee lunches. These types of decisions require thorough analysis before making a choice that will raise morale within the office environment.

Analyze the Expenses Involved in Cafeteria Services

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When you consider the amount of money that it would take to put together your own cafeteria service for employees that work in your building, it might sound like too great of an expense. You have to consider the amount of money that must be paid to hire employees, train cafeteria workers to use kitchens, and cover several other expenses that you’ve never had to encounter. Unless your company is already involved in the food industry, running a cafeteria is an operation that comes with a learning curve that will cost you more than you can imagine. For more details on this, check here.

However, there’s a more cost-effective option that many business professionals have found useful. Hiring a company to supply cafeteria services saves money on training workers, and you’ll save yourself the frustration of planning out the service on your own. Additionally, your employees will be thankful that you’ve found a professional company to provide food services.

Why Does Your Company Need Food Services?

Apart from the questions that company leaders have about the return on investments for having food services in their buildings, many business leaders remark about the intrinsic benefits behind putting cafeterias in their offices. Having food services in your building, lobby, or office space is beneficial because it helps raise morale in the office environment. The people that come through your doors will notice the way that your company thinks about the needs of the people that keep the business running. Respecting the hard-working people that make your company what it is will go a long way toward winning over clients as well.

Selecting a Vendor for Your Cafeteria Service

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In order to select a vendor that your employees will find appropriate, it’s a good idea to survey your employees on the topic. Ask questions about the types of foods that people enjoy, and ask employees about their thoughts on snacks and beverages being made available throughout the day. You shouldn’t tackle the issue on your own either. It’s a good idea to form a selection committee to interview each vendor that is being considered for their cafeteria services. Vendors should be asked questions about their previous experience in providing food services in a corporate setting. Be sure to compare the costs and quality of food.

The trend in Providing Healthy Food Options for Your Employees

More office workers are conscious of having healthy food options available in their work environments. Nearly all employees surveyed about their food preferences have indicated that they would favor healthy food options at work. Keeping people happy about the availability of fresh, nutritious food will promote healthy behavior, and this mindset will lead to an increase in the positive energy in the work environment. As you can imagine, there is a positive correlation between healthy habits and productivity, so you will likely see an increase in your return on this investment.

Does Your Company Need Cafeteria?

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The short answer is a resounding yes. Occasionally, we read an article or see a YouTube video describing the perks rich companies, especially those found in the Silicone Valley, provide for their employees. Among them is usually a chef that works in the company’s cafeteria. This perk increases workers’ job satisfaction, but it also provides a valuable service to the company. Some studies claim that having your employees have their meals together is very beneficial for their performance as a team.

Companies spend fortunes at various teambuilding exercises and retreats that actually achieve very little. This sort of activity has become commonplace and people rarely take them seriously. They are either seen as a bore or an opportunity to spend the weekend away at the company’s expense. Parties, regardless of how regular or well organized they are, also aren’t a good substitution. Also, many people consider them a work function, something they have to attend and while there, feel the same as if they are in their office. This defeats the purpose of a party and leads to a bad atmosphere. Cafeterias, on the other hand, while seemingly expensive to run and maintain, offer benefits that are far more tangible and applicable.

A recent study, performed by professor Kevin Kniffin and his team at Cornel University, spent 15 months observing firefighters in large cities. The conclusions they drew are unmistakable. Firehouses, where firefighters ate together every day, were outperforming those that didn’t have communal meals or had them occasionally. The exact mechanism is still unknown and professor Kniffin’s team is preparing another study to discover it, but they do have a few suggestions. “Eating together is more intimate than coworkers working on a Google doc or an Excel spreadsheet,” Kniffin said. “That intimacy may spill over to other activities—in this case, work. Presumably, there’s some positive bonding that comes about from that.”

Kniffin believes that companies, where employees perform regular jobs, may benefit even more from the effects of eating together. “Firefighters train together all the time, and they probably already trust each other,” he explained. “Maybe you could move the needle more with companies and teams that don’t do as much training together.”

It is no coincidence companies like Apple and Google have cafeterias that look like five-star restaurants. Despite the money they spend on running them, they see them as a good investment. Rarely do we see such a perfect alignment of the company’s and workers’ interests. Cafeterias are something both parties can benefit from.

About Suzan Vega