Recently, ZeroCater conducted a survey of employees and office managers to find out what really matters when it comes to their employee benefits and office food programs. The findings show a correlation between office food programs and improvements in culture, productivity, and retention.
Employers are using food to improve workplace culture
After a tumultuous year, employers are refocusing efforts around creating a safe and happy work environment for their teams, with a focus on shared food experiences that bring the company together.
When asked how happy they were at work, 75% of employees said they were at an 8 or higher, with 10 being the highest level of happiness. Nearly the same percentage (74%) of employees surveyed have access to free office meals and snacks.
With collaboration being a key conduit of productivity, 90% of employers say that meals help their employees build stronger relationships with colleagues. Adding shared meals to a workplace can help to foster, and strengthen, productive relationships with colleagues that makes communication, ideation, and collaboration easier.
Unemployment rates are at their lowest, leading to the recruitment and retention of top talent being more competitive than ever. For employers, shared meals are an integral part of the on-boarding process, with 79% viewing meals as a way for new employees to meet their coworkers. In addition, 67% of employers say meals are a part of their retention strategy, giving their teams a reason to stay at their company.
Efficiency is key now more than ever. 88% of employers say that meals save their employees time by not having to leave the office to find lunch.
Employees see the value in access to food at work
When looking at their overall employee benefits and office perks, more than a third of employees (38%) surveyed rank office food as one of their top three office perks, alongside vacation time and professional development.
Employees consider it important for their employers to provide food in the office, with 88% considering snacks important while 78% say the same of office meals.
When they look at the benefits of office food programs, employees find time and money to be the most significant drivers. According to 70% of employees surveyed office meals save them time from venturing out to find lunch.
With their finances on their mind, 76% of employees consider office meals to be a money-saver. 26% of employees say they save an average of $50 or more each week with office meals, while 35% of employees say they save more than $20 each week on office snacks.
What employees are looking for in their office’s food program
For employers who are ready to take the leap with a new food program for their office, or even for those looking to reinvigorate their current office perks, the aspects of food that matter to employees might surprise you.
Employees are more health conscious than ever! Access to healthy snacks in the office is very or extremely important for 65% of employees, meanwhile, 53% say office snacks help them stay healthy. When it comes to dietary restrictions and preferences, 55% of employees said it was very or extremely important to have office meals that cater to their preferences. Conscious consumers, 41% percent of employees want to know where the ingredients in their office meals come from.
They are looking to mix it up. The quality of the meal and variety of cuisine type are the two most important attributes of office meals for employees. When evaluating office snack programs, employees ranked variety (56%), full shelves (47%) and healthy snacks (65%) as most important. They also want the latest and greatest in office snacks, with 32% wanting the latest snack trends on their office snack shelves. 30% also want to try the newest snacks on the market.
Office food programs are reinvigorating the restaurant and food and beverage industries
Achieving success in the restaurant industry is harder now than ever before. Among the disruption caused by delivery and meal kits, rising operations costs, and the opening of more restaurants, restaurant owners must find additional revenue streams and actively market their restaurants — and office-meal business provides both.
For Restaurants, 63% of employees say they have visited new restaurants they first discovered through their office’s meals. This means as restaurants continue to face competition they can acquire new customers through office catering. To put the opportunities in perspective, 73% of companies surveyed spend $10–$15 per person, per meal. With an average company size of 248 employees, companies are spending $2,480–$3,720 per meal!
Looking at the CPG industry, 68% of employees say they have purchased snacks and beverages they first discovered through their office’s snack programs. Snack programs present a huge opportunity for food and beverage brands that not only want to introduce their product to new consumers but also form consumption habits.
Whatever the reasoning behind introducing an office food program into your workplace, be sure that you fully understand your employee’s expectations, likes and dislikes, as well as your goals behind bringing teams together over a shared food experience at the office.