You should be able to find a food program that has the right offerings, cost, and space requirements for you
1. The type of food you’re offering
Employees have been hitting the vending machine for candy bars to fight that 3 pm slump since the dawn of the office. But sugary, salty, fatty convenience foods aren’t always the best option to introduce. While it’s important for employees to have the freedom of choice, providing healthier options is not only better for them, but it’s better for you as an employer as well. Studies have shown time and again that employees who engage in healthy habits are more productive and that healthy employees affect the bottom line with reduced healthcare costs. Consider this:
- Employees who eat healthy are 25% more likely to have higher job performance, according to one survey. They also have 27% less absenteeism if they eat healthy and exercise regularly.
- According to a Quantum Health survey, employees are 10% more engaged when offered healthy food options.
- Companies with a wellness program in place see a 26% reduction in health costs and 30% reduction in workers’ compensation and disability management claims.
When considering what you’ll be offering to employees through your office food program, take these statistics into account. While it may be cheaper to go with standard snack fare, an investment in quality food with good ingredients can provide excellent return. Still, employees love a treat every now and then as well!
When you’re deciding on the food you’re offering, create some guidelines for yourself that will strike the right balance for your employees. One ratio you might want to try is the one we employ at LeanBox, with 80% of our offerings being categorized as “healthy” and 20% fun, innovative items that are “borderline” healthy, which provides plenty of autonomy while also presenting a majority of healthy options.
Money is the big sticking point for many employers considering offering food and drinks to their employees, but it doesn’t have to be. Partnering with the right company can really help bring costs down to a reasonable level while providing in-house snack, meal and drink options can cut down on employees leaving the office to grab something, which lowers productivity.
Many of our clients choose to work with us because we can bring all their food needs, from snacks to meals to beverages, under one umbrella, which provides efficiencies and savings. Search for a company that can provide you efficiencies by serving multiple food service areas – saving you money, time or both.
Not ready to go whole-hog providing your employees’ meals, snacks and drinks? Consider subsidizing some options, paying for some outright and having employees pay for other items.
Finally, many employers simply don’t consider a full meal program or expanded snack program because of the cost of building and maintaining a facility. Perhaps you have a budget for providing food, but not one for creating a cafeteria environment that needs to be built out and staffed. Think about unmanned options that don’t require too much space. Office food program options can include really amazing coffee and espresso machines that are self-serve stand-ins for Starbucks, kegs (of beer, cold brew or even kombucha!), baskets of fruit, a stocked fridge or high-tech and self-contained vending machines.
3. Available space
Where will your office food program be housed? For the lucky few (and typically large) companies that have a full cafeteria, that’s an easy answer. But for most, working with traditional kitchens and break rooms where employees store their own food and eat, and perhaps visit a vending machine from time to time, this can be tricky. Consider the space you have before selecting the details of your office food program. A delivery of produce each week, for example, will quickly become a nuisance if the fridge is packed with employee lunches.
We know that the lack of available space for a food program is a major pain point for a lot of companies – we hear it all the time. There is tons of innovation and technology on the market that allows you to stock even perishable food in a smaller space and provides your employees with lots of fresh options without requiring a large capital investment or new kitchen.
Challenges aside, a great corporate food program can increase employee satisfaction and wellness while literally providing workers with the energy they need to get through the day. If you’re looking for solutions to these challenges, contact us for a free consultation.