Operations

How foodservice is connecting with virtual workers

With many employees still working remotely, B&I providers are finding new ways to nourish them.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Business-and-industry operators are finding fresh ways to nourish office workers as they continue to work from home and will likely do so well into the new year.

One such provider: LifeWorks Restaurant Group, which runs foodservice venues for corporations and other B&I partners. With a business model built on providing food experiences that “feed the company culture,” the operator had to find new ways to make this model viable with a virtual workforce.

Once corporate eateries closed down at the start of the pandemic, LifeWorks launched a variety of delivery and pick-up programs to support remote workers. One client in the financial services industry, for example, specifically requested services to engage work-from-home employees and connect their teams through food.

“Serving our guests fresh, delicious food is at the heart of everything we do, so it was imperative that we not let the current work-from-home environment impede this mission,” said Prentiss Hall, president of LifeWorks Restaurant Group, in a statement.

“Thyme Savor” was one play-on-words service LifeWorks developed—a program that provides scratch-made dinners featuring local ingredients. The meals are sized for individuals or families and are delivered ready to heat and serve. Along with dinner, employees can order handcrafted cupcakes, cookies and cakes from Scratch Bakery, another newly introduced service.

Local Grocer offers a more interactive experience, providing ingredients for households of four to six people to create dinners from meal kits.

LifeWorks also orchestrated virtual cooking events and themed celebrations, helping to foster the comradery that is often missing when employees are sequestered in home offices. Its Sweet Rewards program provides everything from custom-designed gift boxes to themed packages for virtual events, such as Movie Night, Zen Out and Picnic in the Park. Each package includes food and drink that coordinate with the theme.

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