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

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