The decline of B&I foodservice?

Take-backs from a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

It seems that assigning reporters to visit local non-commercial cafeterias may be coming a popular pastime for newspaper editors. I commented last month on the Washington Post’s article on the quality of federal offices cafeterias in D.C. This week, it was the Columbus Dispatch’s turn to sample 5 B&I cafeterias in and around Ohio’s capital city.

This article wasn’t a review and rating of the cafés, as the Post’s recap was. Instead, this feature focused on what the companies offer and why they provide foodservice for their employees.

It was framed by a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. That was what caught my eye, and I plan to try to get a copy of the survey to study it more in depth.

According to the Dispatch article, the SHRM reported that 22% of companies in the U.S. offer employee foodservice. That number makes sense; a cafeteria isn’t viable unless you have a critical mass of employees to take advantage of it. I have never worked for a company that offered employee dining, and in large urban areas with multi-tenant high-rise buildings, few companies have the space for their own dining facility.

The figure that got my attention was that, according to the survey, 8% of companies plan to reduce or eliminate employee foodservice within the next year. Although I haven’t read the study, the reasons for the expected decline are most likely the downsizing of companies or the shift toward having more employees working remotely.

We’ve already seen that the corporate liaison has become an endangered species. As companies downsize they are more likely either to make the foodservice manager responsible for other departments as well, or to take the liaisons duties and give them over to someone in the accounting or HR department.

What does this mean for the foodservice industry, and for the Society for Foodservice Management, which represents the people and companies responsible for employee feeding? I don’t know, but it will be interesting to follow this trend and its fallout. Will a robust economy reverse the trend? To find out I suppose first we’ll need a robust economy.

Keywords: 
research

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
staff pack

To keep staff motivated, we locked them in a room together. As part of a midsemester training session, we formed work groups and sent them to a local Escape Room to see which team could play the game together most effectively and escape first. Not only was this training a great team-building experience, but it supported a local new business and gave our staff a memorable experience.

Ideas and Innovation
star employee

Senior leadership meets twice a year to do organizational talent planning for every position from the top down. We talk about who are the potential high-performers, and go through how they can grow. People are your differentiator—you need to take care of your assets, and your assets are your human resources.

Industry News & Opinion

Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be served student-grown produce from the campus farm at dining halls this fall, M Live reports.

The dining team received its first batch of produce from UM’s on-campus farm in June, after students received the proper USDA certification to grow, harvest and deliver food to campus dining halls. In order to figure out what produce is needed, students communicate with the dining department weekly, and Michigan Dining purchases items accordingly.

"The students are involved from seed to plate," Executive Chef Frank Turchan...

Sponsored Content
college students eating

From Ovention.

Today’s colleges and universities know they should offer more than a large selection of breakfast cereals in the morning and chicken tenders at lunch to appeal to students. When it comes to what’s trending on campuses, here’s a look at what directors can tune into to boost engagement.

1. Expanded dining hours

Late-night options have long been a popular fixture on college campuses, but if it’s too late, students often choose to venture to off-campus retailers to satisfy their cravings. According to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend...

FSD Resources