As workers return to the office and face the grim chaos of the morning commute, many are already pining for the flexibility of working from home. The prospect of returning back to the way things were is driving the ‘Great Resignation’ – with employees looking to move towards jobs that offer more benefits. Companies are going to have to work hard to keep their employees from being tempted away, and that means offering more benefits to their workers. A company lunch program is a great way to retain employees and attract new ones. It offers many benefits not just to the employees themselves, but to their employers too.
Benefits to employees
- Improve health and wellbeing
Many workplaces are lucky to have some vending machines on-site for employees, but these are often filled with chocolate, crisps and energy drinks. Snacks should not be substitutes for healthy, quality food. If your employees are forced to go off-site or get a delivery, they’ll probably opt for fast food to save time. Proper nutrition is vital to physical and mental wellbeing, which ensures workers can perform at their best.
Offering a company lunch means employees won’t have to go off-site for lunch breaks. It saves them the hassle of trying to find somewhere to eat or organising a delivery, so they can eat and get back to work promptly. It also means they don’t have to worry about preparing lunches at home, which is one less thing to stress about.
- It saves money
Having to order in or dine-out can rack up quite a bill. By covering lunch for your employees, you can take away that financial stress for those who don’t have the time or means to prepare food at home.
- Great networking opportunity
Sharing lunch is a brilliant way for employees to network with colleagues from other teams and departments they might not otherwise get the chance to interact with. This can promote an exchange of ideas and help create an open, positive company culture where everyone feels connected.
- Builds team spirit
Of course, it’s not all about the work. Sometimes just spending time with team members away from their work gives them a chance to build relationships and develop empathy and understanding with one another.
Benefits to employers
- Employee retention
The more benefits you can offer your employees, the greater their job satisfaction will be. People want to feel valued, not just for how productive they are, but as human beings. Free food is a great, cost-effective way to show your staff they are appreciated and reduce employee turnover.
- Boost corporate image
There are too many companies that treat their employees as disposable assets rather than people. Offering a company lunch is a gesture that goes a long way to showing employees are cared for and contributes to a positive company image.
- Boost efficiency and productivity
If you want to get the best out of your staff, they’ll need to be feeling at their best. Healthy employees are more focused and more productive. Good nutrition boosts employee’s mental and physical wellbeing, resulting in fewer sick days.
How do you successfully implement a company lunch program?
Every company has different means and requirements that need to be taken into consideration when implementing a company lunch program.
- You’ll need to figure out what your budget is, so start by taking a headcount and accounting for fluctuations such as remote-workers and temporary staff.
- All the dietary requirements of your staff must be accommodated, so any lunch program needs to have vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, halal and any other options people might require. Any allergies also need to be factored in.
- You’ll need a diverse menu that offers something for all tastes.
- Workplace dining services bring good food to you. You don’t need to worry about the overheads of hiring staff and maintaining a kitchen on-site. Caterers can come to you and clean up after themselves, so you don’t need to even leave the office. You just need to have the space to accommodate them.
What should you consider when selecting a caterer for your corporate lunch program?
With all your requirements in mind, it’s time to find a caterer that’s up to the task. So, what should you look for?
From cooking to cleaning, a high quality of service is a must. Good caterers clean up after themselves, so you’ll never know they were there. Reputation is everything, so do some research on customer testimonials and check out their reviews to see what people are saying.
- Quality ingredients
High-quality ingredients are at the centre of healthy food, so any caterer worth their salt should be using only the very best.
Every company should seek to embrace sustainability as the world moves towards a greener future. That should be reflected in who you choose to do business with. Make sure your caterer follows sustainability practices. Ingredients should be fresh, locally sourced, organic and free-range wherever possible to support a healthy, ethical menu. Check for the label of the Soil Association or the EU organic logo. Caterers often list the sources for their produce, so check their websites for details.
No one wants to eat the same thing every day. Menus should be varied so there is always something new and interesting on offer to liven up that lunch break.
You’ll want to select a caterer that can meet your specific needs, but it’s also worth seeing what other services they offer. Perhaps you fancy putting on a themed event to reward your employees?
The biggest benefits a company lunch program can offer are felt by both employee and employer. Workers will only perform at their best if they are healthy physically and mentally, and good nutrition is key to this. The cost of providing a free lunch to your employees might seem daunting at first, but it can have a profound impact on the efficiency and productivity of your company. By choosing an exceptional caterer to provide a healthy, tasty lunch for your employees, you can help create a happier, more fulfilling work environment where your staff are energised and focused.