The future of workplace dining is local

Why marrying the local flavors of your community with your cafe is important – and how to do it.

Your employees probably have local restaurants they love. So why not bring those favorites right into your workplace?

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that even the best corporate culinary programs can get menu fatigue. Bringing the outside in always generates excitement and gives your employees something to look forward to – all while increasing the variety of your regular offerings.

When your staff leaves the office to go out to lunch, not only does it take time to leave, dine and walk back, but it also takes an extended time for their minds to reengage with work. That’s hours of productivity lost. Not to mention the loss of collaboration that goes on over meals in your cafe.

Local restaurant pop-up stations make the most of your cafe space and give your team another reason to stay on-site during the lunch break. It’s also a great way to let them know you appreciate your community and are supportive of local businesses, something that is increasingly important to your millennial workforce.

This also gives local culinary talent the opportunity to showcase themselves while injecting dollars into their businesses on a regular basis. Providing restaurant owners access to your entire team not only gives them new lunchtime revenue, but it also exposes their business to potentially new customers who may visit in the evening or on the weekend. 

Another benefit of welcoming community partners into your space is that you can increase your diversity and inclusion efforts. Pursuing relationships with women- and minority-owned local businesses is a win-win.

While a visiting restaurant program is great, there are certainly some considerations that must be part of the program. Meal quality, delivery, insurance and presentation need to be properly vetted and managed to ensure the safety of your employees and the enjoyment for everyone.

Foodworks in action

At Compass Group, we have created our own restaurant incubator program – FOODWORKS – to help clients enjoy the benefits of local partnerships. Through FOODWORKS, we are able to execute a visiting restaurant program seamlessly on a daily basis. We work with corporations, universities and healthcare facilities to vet and manage the restaurant partners, including finding new restaurant partners and scheduling the stations or pop-up events.

“We bring the flavors of different neighborhoods into one space,” FOODWORKS President Jim Kallas says. “We’re trying to stay with unique restaurants, the kind you’d think are cool.”

As you consider the future of you your cafe program and how to better engage your employees, think about how we could partner with you and your local community!

Want to learn more? Get in touch with us.