The Big Idea 2014: Creating a community destination
Executive Vice President, Administration
Devon Energy, Oklahoma City
We moved into a new 50-floor building in 2012. Devon wanted to be more than just a company located downtown; we wanted to be a community member, and this new building helped us accomplish that.
Foodservice became integral to this goal. We wanted the city to have something they had never seen before and to be a destination. That’s why our foodservice program has taken such a main stage in the new building. We built this new beautifully designed building and we wanted to have an awesome foodservice program to complement that.
Nebu, our restaurant, is in a prime location on the first floor. The dining space is right out front, making it a gathering place for employees and community members.
Nebu is open to the community; we didn’t want to suck the life out of downtown but invite people in. About 35% of our customers are non-Devon employees. All great cities have a great public space downtown, but Oklahoma City didn’t have that before we opened Nebu.
Nebu has seven stations: Deli (paninis, wraps and subs); Broiler and Bistro (burgers and casseroles to hand-carved meats); Salad Bar; Sushi; Exhibition (Asian made-to-order dishes); Taqueria (Latin American favorites); and Pizza and Pasta.
We also wanted to create more of a sense of community with our Devon employees. Before the new building, employees were spread out over five buildings downtown. We wanted a foodservice program that would attract the best employees and would be an on-site amenity that would help improve productivity.
Oklahoma is 48th for the amount of people who are obese or overweight. Devon wanted to create a holistic atmosphere that would help employees be more healthful. That’s one of the main reasons we partnered with Guckenheimer to manage the program. They provided a comprehensive wellness program. While we offer customers choice, we make it easy to pick better-for-you options.
The oil and energy industry is booming and there aren’t as many qualified job candidates coming out of college right now. We wanted to create an advantage over our competitors with this building, and foodservice was designed to be a huge component of that.