Food plays increasingly important role in the workplace, survey shows

As competition for labor heats up, companies with winning foodservice programs are winning employees.
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As every foodservice operator knows, filling job positions is tough in this tight labor market. The same is true in the corporate world, where the battle to recruit and retain top employees is more competitive than ever. But for a growing number of companies, food is becoming an effective weapon in that war for talent.

Nearly half (49%) of the companies participating In ZeroCater’s Quarterly Customer Survey reported that retaining talent was the No. 1 objective in providing office meals, up from 44% in 2017. Tech companies are known for luring employees with free food and chef-inspired meals, but other B&I programs are seeing the benefit of this workplace perk. Here’s how to win with today’s hungry workforce, according to ZeroCater, an office catering company.

Tap into on-trend cuisines

While American comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese and burgers remain popular, other cuisines are emerging as favorites. In 2018, the highest-rated cuisines for office meals were Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Mexican and Indian. As the workforce becomes more diverse, the demand for ethnic foods will only increase.

Foster community

Shareable meals are a source of workplace camaraderie, especially since the majority of workers spend nearly half a day using technology to communicate. Creating an environment where employees can interact while eating has a positive impact on company culture: 35% of companies provide office meals to encourage team building.

Socialize over snacks

Breakfast and lunch aren’t the only opportunities for community building. Snacking is a must-have for office workers, but tastes are changing. Some of the most popular office snacks of 2018, per ZeroCater, were bananas, sparkling water in grapefruit and mango flavors, hard-cooked eggs, diet cola, jasmine green tea, avocados, artisanal chips and energy bars. With keto and paleo diets trending, low-carb, high-protein options such as jerky and protein bars are also in demand.

Serve up sustainability

Millennials and Gen Zers value being part of socially responsible workplaces. That affects everything from sourcing humanely raised meat to offering more plant-based alternatives, reducing food waste through repurposing and composting, and establishing food pantries or contributing to existing ones.



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