Operations

Market Cafe looks to meet diners where they’re comfortable

A new concept from Compass’ Envision Group gives customers in the B&I sector more control over their dining experience.
The Market Cafe powered by Foodworks
Photo: Compass Group USA

When the world shut down last year due to COVID-19, the team at Compass’ Envision Group sought to create a new corporate dining experience that would impress employees when they eventually returned to the office.

Knowing that employees would have different levels of comfortability in regard to dining, the team centered the concept around giving employees more control over their dining experience. The result was Market Cafe Powered by Foodworks.

“Market Cafe was really a solution to give people what they were looking for when they wanted to return to work and feel safe and comfortable,” says CEO of Envision Group Susie Weintraub.

The concept, which recently opened its latest location at Halliburton’s headquarters in Houston, aims to give diners the best of both worlds by offering a mix of grab-and-go and hot lunch options available through contactless mobile and onsite kiosk ordering.

Giving diners options

Market Cafe offers two dining options for customers. Envision Group’s grab-and-go brand, Jack and Olive, offers a variety of salads, sandwiches, snacks and bakery items available throughout the work day. Employees can also grab coffee using Market Cafe’s automated coffee machines.

In addition to Jack and Olive, there are daily restaurant pop-ups for employees who are comfortable with a hot lunch.

The number of restaurants and how often they rotate is different depends on each Market Cafe location. When choosing which restaurants to partner with, the Envision team looks at individual preferences in the community as well as regional food trends.

In the case of Halliburton, Envision has partnered with around 15 local restaurants. For now, only one is featured each day, however, as more employees return to the office, additional restaurants could be added.

“If we're seeing an uptick in population, maybe we bring in another restaurant partner, so it's not just one but it's two and three and four and five and so forth,” says Weintraub.

All orders are placed through the Market Cafe app or the on-site kiosk. Participating restaurants prepare the meals at the restaurant and finish them onsite in the cafe.

All restaurant meals are packed in a carryout container, giving diners the choice of taking the meal to go or eating onsite.

 

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