Whether or not employees need to be onsite to do their best work continues to be a hotly debated topic. This year, several high-profile companies have asked employees to return to their offices full time. However, in a recent Bankrate survey, 68% of full-time employees said they prefer a hybrid schedule with partial work-from-home privileges, and almost three-fourths of those would make a sacrifice to get it, such as changing jobs or companies.
This disconnect between employers and employees may be inspiring some business and industry foodservice leaders to revamp their dining programs with high-end design features, a balance of wellness and comfort menus, and engaging “pop up” experiences.
Not surprisingly, foodservice technology is now being designed into the overall experience, as well. Although it hasn’t been seen as part of the traditional definition of “hospitality,” the right mix of fast, efficient tech amenities can actually make it easier for some employees to return to the workplace, providing a variety of efficient, flexible mealtime options that help them balance work and personal obligations.
For instance, one day an employee may need to leave work early, so they want to grab a quick meal to go and make the most of their afternoon. The next day, that employee may use lunchtime to take a mental break and enjoy a sit-down meal with coworkers. Both are helpful to the employee, and just what they need, at just the right time—the modern definition of hospitality.
Not surprisingly, the right combination of digital restaurant technologies help to make this new version of “flexible hospitality” possible.
It starts with a variety of digital ordering options, whether by website, mobile app or kiosk. These time-savers put the customer in control and help ensure their order is exactly the way they want it (dressing on the side, no onions!) without waiting in line to explain things to an employee.
If it’s an order to go, the busy employee really wants a way to streamline the process, without waiting in line for someone to hand them their order. That’s why smart food lockers like those from Apex Order Pickup Solutions are being added to B&I dining rooms. The customer simply scans their order code, their compartment door pops open and they take their order in seconds. Orders stay secure, and the dining team knows exactly when each order was loaded and picked up, freeing employees to focus more time elsewhere.
Smart food lockers were a key part of a new corporate dining experience that opened this year at Citi’s Tampa campus. Employees now enjoy an amenity-rich experience at the company’s food hall, called the Tampa Bay Kitchen Company. It was designed to provide a thoughtful balance of both relaxing dine-in experiences as well as fast, convenient to-go options.
There’s plenty of seating for colleagues or teams to relax, connect and socialize, choosing from a variety of modern food concepts. Yet it’s just as convenient for guests to get their food to go, thanks to a full complement of seamless technology such as Smart Food Lockers from Apex. Busy employees can quickly order ahead and get their food from the lockers in seconds, avoiding any lines or waiting.
It's conveniences like these that are helping redefine the meaning of workplace hospitality, while helping employees bridge the gap between remote and onsite work. Today’s B&I dining facilities are becoming the smart, versatile amenities employees need them to be, assisted by foodservice technology that’s available whenever and however it’s needed.
This post is sponsored by Apex Order Pickup Solutions