Goldman Sachs offers a solution to waiting in line during lunch

Customers receive a discount when dining after 1:30.

Oct. 21—Goldman Sachs has a pretty brilliant approach to making sure its highly-paid workers don't' waste a chunk of their workday standing around waiting in line for lunch. As John Carney at CNBC reports, the investment bank charges full price for sandwiches and salads at its cafeteria from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. But if you're willing to eat an early or late lunch outside that window, you get a 25 percent discount.

The only thing that doesn't make sense in this strategy, as Business Insider's Josh Barro notes, is that they have created an unfortunate "cliff" effect. The result is that people start standing around at 1:20 in the afternoon -- waiting for the discount to kick in. Also inefficient! Instead, lunch should be put on a sliding scale so that there are no cliff effects. Then make it dynamic, so that the size and timing of the discount adjusts depending on how crowded the cafeteria is on that day. I'm sure there are some people on the Goldman payroll right now who can work out the algorithm in their spare time, just for kicks.*

But while the Goldmanites work on that, here's an idea: Restaurants everywhere should learn a thing or two from the Goldman Sachs cafeteria. Restaurateurs tend to see success when their place is so full that nobody else can get in the door. In fact, that's a massive market failure.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

FSD Resources