2006 B&I Census Report: Reinventing the meal

With revenues flat, B&I market’s top challenge is to create value-driven meals.

A CUBICLE CULTURE

Office worker survey shows that 75% of B&I customers frequently eat at the desk.

More than 90% of corporate dining operations participating in the FSD B&I Census offer foods for grab-and-go, confirming that the shift away from meal consumption in the dining facility is now a way of life.

The trend created what Impulse Research Corp. of Los Angeles calls "Cubicle Culture" and prompted it to conduct a survey last fall to determine the extent to which workers are eating at their desks.

According to survey results, three-quarters of desk-workers eat at their desk at least two to three times per week. Nearly half, though, say they eat at their desk "nearly every day."

Lunch, of course, is the most frequently consumed "desk meal," eaten by 75% of respondents. Almost 60% typically consume snacks throughout the day while 31% have breakfast at their desk.

Time crunch: Frequency of desk-eating may be correlated to length of lunch hour. Just under 10% say they get an hour or more for lunch; about 37% say they take 30 minutes to an hour, while one-third get 15 to 30 minutes for their mid-day meal.

When asked to describe their workplace culture at lunchtime, 38% of respondents said: "What lunchtime? Most people are lucky to get a bite at their desks." Just under one-third say lunchtime offers a chance to socialize with colleagues, while the remainder call it a "relaxing diversion from work."

What comprises their typical lunch? For nearly half, it's sandwiches, fruits and vegetables. About one-fifth bring leftovers from home, while another one-fifth get themselves a hot lunch (though the study doesn't specify the source: cafeteria or restaurant).

Health concerns: The rise of desk-eating, while convenient for workers, has health officials concerned. "It's a bad idea on a lot of levels, psychologically and physically, to eat lunch at your desk," says Elisa Zied, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. She's concerned that desk-eating limits workers' physical activity and could encourage over-eating.

Download: 
PDF icon FSD_B&I_Census_May06.pdf

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

This semester, the East Quad dining team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is taking steps to offer more authentic global cuisine , Michigan Daily reports.

The team has partnered with the Office of Student Life to start a conversation with students on how best to create and serve Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Additionally, the university invited chefs from Japan and India to campus to help its chefs create more authentic recipes.

The school’s push for more accurate global cuisine was partially inspired by an international food event that got cancelled...

Industry News & Opinion
Madison food truck

The Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., has partnered with a local organization to debut a food truck that will serve healthy, locally sourced lunch options for Madison high school students, according to The Capital Times .

The truck, which was donated by the Emmi Roth Cheese Co., will visit four high schools Tuesday through Friday, spending a day at each campus. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch can use the food truck as they would the school cafeteria for no-cost or discounted meals.

Members of MMSD and partner organization REAP Food...

Industry News & Opinion

Identifying prospective employees may be less challenging for foodservice operators than getting would-be recruits to complete the hiring process , according to a new study of why job applicants bail.

The report shows that nearly three out of fours applicants (74%) will drop their effort to be hired if they suspect management is racist, and two out of three (62%) will flee if they learn of sexual harassment allegations. Roughly the same proportion (65%) will halt their pursuit if they encounter indications of a gender gap in pay.

About half (45%) of candidates won’t show...

Menu Development
zoodles

Here’s how two operations are spotlighting produce this season.

Oodles of zoodles

Binghamton University underscored its growing focus on plant-based options with a recent zoodle pop-up on campus. The pop-up, which served vegetable noodle bowls in vegan and vegetarian varieties, sold out of the dishes in four hours. The Binghamton, N.Y., school aims to add zoodles to its regular menu in the fall.

A buffet boost

The dining team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently re-evaluated its buffet offerings with an eye toward adding healthy options. It updated the fruit and...

FSD Resources