How culinary experiences can improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Diverse environments don’t always result in inclusion. You need a way for people to connect while showcasing their unique backgrounds, stories and cultures.

Food is the perfect connector because it serves so many purposes. We use food to celebrate and comfort. It evokes memories and emotions. Food can bring people together, in a community and in the workplace.

Acknowledging and celebrating different cultures and backgrounds can result in better employee engagement and increased employee loyalty.

Here are three ways you can use food to promote a culture of inclusion in your workplace.

1. Let employees tell their own story.

Engage your employees in your foodservice operation by creating ways for them to tell their own story. Hold a recipe competition that allows people to enter recipes from their culture or old family recipes used in their home. Conduct a chef’s table or chef demo using the winning recipes and invite the winners to be involved in the event, or feature all of the recipe submissions on a rotating basis in the cafe. Be sure to recognize the employee with their own chef bio and information about the country/region of the dish.

From e15 designer September 2017

2. Use food to educate and team build.

Implementing a teaching kitchen or cooking exhibition that allows employees to collaborate with each other while learning how to cook a nutritious, authentic meal is a great way to promote inclusion. Focus each session on a different culture or food and bring in guest speakers to discuss the country, region or culture. If a particular authentic dish isn’t high on nutrition, get a dietitian involved who can offer ways to keep the dish’s integrity while making it a healthier choice.

Provided by Lisa Lahiji on 1/27 for Eurest template update.

3. Highlight authentic cultural dishes.

Sample dishes from different cultures or highlight an authentic cultural retail product being sold in the cafe on a regular basis. If you’re highlighting a dish people may be unfamiliar with, provide small, bite-sized samples and have someone on hand to provide nutritional or cultural information on the dish or ingredients.

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Food can be an effective way to introduce more diversity and inclusion into the workplace because it is something we all have in common that will continue to be a part of our lives. Showcasing food that includes all backgrounds and cultures enhances the customer experience while fostering a more enjoyable and comfortable workplace for everyone.

Want to learn more about how you can use food to promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace? Contact Compass Group here.