Catering and FM experts urge businesses to adapt and prepare for significant change to workplace catering.
Workplace ‘takeaways’, shift-based lunches and more pre-ordering are all likely to be the new ‘normal’ when the Covid-19 crisis has passed.
Speaking during ‘Connect and Collaborate’ workshops developed by Bartlett Mitchell, foodservice experts discussed the future workplace.
With more people expected to work from home, an introduction of ‘shift’ patterns, and a gradual removal of lockdown measures, the workplace will change significantly.
The workshops featured leading voices from across catering, including consultants, FM directors and workplace experts.
Meeting online, the groups discuss key challenges facing catering and how the physical, cultural and behavioural shape of catering will be adapt.
Attendees include leading consultants from: Tricon Foodservice Consultants – Neller Davies – Stern Consultancy – Catering Consultancy Bureau – IJEss Consultancy – Turpin Smale. Also FM and procurement directors from leading law, tech and finance firms.
Some key findings from the sessions include:
Food offers for a post COVID-19 world will need to change dramatically. Menus will need to be more ‘delivery’ friendly, or be able to be hosted in newly designed workplace restaurants.
Any sharing, or self-service style food to be removed
Health and safety
Specific training and development will be required by teams in a new socially-distanced environment.
Customers and guests will need to be offered guidance and information about new ways of working and measures taken to minimise risk.
Restaurant hosts and guides are likely to be deployed to guide people through zones and control the movement of people.
Future workplace catering forecast – Shift based footfall
Some city businesses are likely to implement shift patterns for those who come to the office. ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams are likely to be deployed on a weekly basis.
There are likely to be lunch shifts in some organisations to reduce traffic and queuing wherever possible.
Future workplace catering forecast – Intelligent technology
There will be more emphasis on using technology to pre-order food.
Technology will communicate key messages to customers and guests to help reassure them during the initial post-lockdown period.
‘Click and collect’ is expected to feature heavily during the initial months.
The company is using the findings to feed into conversations with UKHospitality where Wendy Bartlett, founder of BM, is a board member.
The foodservice forum of UKHospitality is using insights on workplace catering to inform government policy on release from lockdown.
Wendy Bartlett said: “The world that we have all known and loved for so long is certainly likely to change dramatically in the foreseeable future and we all need to be prepared.
“Whatever happens in the coming months and years, we will all have learnt some valuable and probably tough lessons.
“It is, however, very inspiring to work together with our ‘frenemies’ from the contract catering world to put forward one voice to government with UKHospitality.
“By working as a cohesive group, we have supported each other during this time. We will look back and say yes it was tough, but working together we had a common message and strategy and hopefully it will help us through.”