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

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources