This article is written with a view to give hope to anyone providing foodservice in the UK beyond COVID-19.
Moreover, this is an article explaining why the staff restaurant will play a significant role in 2020 in helping rebuild the UK economy.
Society has worked far too hard to evolve catering, from humble beginnings dating right back to the feudal era to the beginning of this year, always evolving, always adapting.
I read a book recently called “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”. It’s by Simon Sinek who I went to see in Central London this time last year and he gave a rousing talk.
If you haven’t heard of him, then I suggest watching his epic TED Talk, which stands at more than 49 million views (last time I looked). Sinek explores how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust, and change. He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. He discovered remarkable patterns about how the greatest leaders and organizations think, act, and communicate.
In order for us to explain why the staff restaurant will play a significant role in 2020 in helping rebuild the UK economy, we must start at the beginning with the origins and rise of the staff restaurant.
Did you know the origins of the word “restaurant” actually derive from the French word meaning “food which restores”?
And did you also know that, whatever the form the foodservice takes today – industrial (or workplace) feeding, cafe, restaurant, cafeteria … they’ve progressed out of a ‘must have’ need for something more than a mere eating place?
In fact, they’ve evolved to be restful, pleasant, social canteens for workers to find respite or antidote from physical, mental & nervous strain. A place where good will is promoted, as is tolerance between workers. And above all, it’s a place in most organisations that proves invaluable in improving relations between the workers themselves.
None of the above are my words either. Check out out the infographic below to take a look at just how far foodservices have evolved and WHY? they evolved, to see how we’ve come and why we can’t regress now (despite the temporary setbacks of the pandemic).
Foodservice adapting to reopening – the historical timeline
The foodservice industry and/or the catering industry generally refers to businesses, institutions, and organisations responsible for actions, services and functions relating to providing meals that are sourced, cooked, and served away from home.
Today, out of home could refer to the provision of meals in any place, such as high street restaurants, schools, hospitals, and workplace staff restaurants (as well as many other areas).
The foodservice industry and/or the catering industry generally refers to businesses, institutions, and organisations responsible for actions, services and functions relating to providing meals that are sourced, cooked and served away from home. They could refer to any place, such as high street restaurants, schools, hospitals, and workplace staff restaurants (as well as many other areas).
Foodservice adapting to reopening – considering pre and post Covid-19 conditions
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, contract catering was seen to occupy every corner of the modern economy – staff restaurant to boardroom and private dining for executives, local primary school to large NHS hospitals, catering to anyone from infants to pensioners.
Why will the staff restaurant play a significant role in helping rebuild the UK economy?
Put simply, society has worked far too hard to evolve catering, from humble beginnings dating right back to the feudal era to the beginning of this year, always evolving, always adapting.
Prior today’s COVID-19 pandemic, most head offices were still seeking to provide restful, pleasant, social canteens for workers to find respite. These agile spaces, within workplaces – where good will and tolerance and promoting relations were promoted between workers – they will return.
For it’s the staff restaurant, above all other out of home eateries, most capable – through today’s highly skilled, experienced and specialist contract caterers, providing foods to restore (thereby going back to the origins of the word “restaurant”) and enable workers (as in post WWII Britain, unable to eat at home) to have a hot balanced and immune boosting meal to improve the health and welfare of employees, thereby reducing sickness time.
Even though, right now, staff restaurants may not be able to feed, they must adapt. And this is why we believe our contract caterers will be needed, more than ever, to step up and play a significant role from May 2020 onwards, once the green light is signalled for corporates to return to work.
More work than ever will be needed to help businesses rebuild workers and employees, so that it’s an integral part of the employee benefit. As far as history goes, they’ll be expected to make an important contribution in rebuilding the UK economy.
Next Chapter: Finding the Next New Normal Foodservices in the UK: What’s next? Published next week.
Written by, Tracey Ann Fairclough, Managing Director, TAF Catering Consultancy