Clients often mention how important health and wellness is to designing an optimal employee cafe program. For good reason – we all want our employees to be healthy, given the increase of healthcare costs and decrease in productivity when our workforce is unhealthy.
But providing nutritious options at work is only part of the solution. To really support employees in their quests for a healthier way of life, it is important to consider how you can leverage your dining program to influence better choices outside of the workplace.
Education is the foundation
The old proverb states: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”
This certainly holds true for encouraging healthy eating outside of the workplace. Many people simply don’t understand the nutritional value of the ingredients in the food they eat. Nor do they understand how to prepare healthy dishes. This is where your dining team can really bring value to your employees, as they prepare and cook nutritious meals each and every day.
Develop a Teaching Kitchen
Chefs are passionate about food – from the raw ingredients and preparation method, to the plating of the final dish. Consider having your chef host a teaching session right in your cafe. The event can be scheduled as part of a department meeting for team building or as a voluntary sign-up session. The goal is to make it fun and interactive.
The session should educate participants on the ingredients being used in the dish, show the proper preparation and cooking method and, of course, give participants a chance to eat the final product.
Hand out recipe cards or even prepackaged meal kits for participants to practice their learnings with their family.
Get out into the community
Most foodservice companies employ dietitians to support the nutritional needs of clients and guests. Ask your dietitian to lead a grocery store tour for your employees, so they understand how to develop healthy grocery lists, where in the store to shop for nutritious foods and what areas of the store should be avoided.
Grocery store tours are fun, and most local chains are happy to support these because it’s good exposure for them. Consider allowing participants to sign up based on their particular interests or dietary needs – vegetarian, gluten free, keto or just healthy eating in general.
Provide your employees with ongoing information
At Compass Group, we created a website dedicated to health and wellness to provide our clients, customers and guests with healthy recipe videos, tips, tricks and insights from wellness experts. There’s even a form to “Ask the Chef,” where all submitted questions will be answered by a chef or registered dietician. The website is public, so we encourage you to share it with your employees and staff.
“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” – François de La Rochefoucauld
Have some fun connecting your team to your artists – chefs and dietitians – for a more meaningful, lifelong relationship with food.
Want to learn more? Get in touch with us.