Updated: Jun 17
After what seems like an eternity, you’re finally back to work. As you navigate the new-ish space, we’re sure the fear of the virus is far from gone, and rightfully so. The pandemic is very much still looming over our heads and even if you have been vaccinated, it is extremely important to continue to practice safety norms.
While your workstation has been neatly reorganized to maintain required social distances, are you still dreading lunchtime? The long queues in the cafeteria, over 100 people squeezed into a tiny place, all waiting for food, throwing caution out of the window? This nightmare scenario doesn’t need to exist outside the creativity of your brain. Why? Because just like with everything else, technology has proven its prowess to resolve this problem effectively with a solution we call – Digital Cafeterias.
Way before the pandemic entered our lives, digital cafeterias were slowly making inroads to traditional workplaces. While everything else was available at the click of a button, why not food at the office? The concept is simple – digitize cafeteria operations. This involves providing employees the option to go through the menu at the cafeteria beforehand to place their orders, pay online, and only come to the cafeteria to collect the food when ready.
The seemingly simple concept is revolutionary. It reduces long queues at cafeterias, helps the system go cashless and paperless, helps managers and vendors cut down on food wastage as they only need to make food on-demand, and finally, they can rely on data to make more sound decisions on the overall management of the cafeteria.
Let’s unpack how SmartQ, one of the pioneers in the space, is changing the way employees eat.
Mobile applications for contactless experiences
A key feature of a digital cafeteria is the usage of an app-based or web-based solution. This solution typically provides a friendly interface for employees to browse through the available menu options at any time of the day. The app also enables remote ordering and payments thus minimizing physical contact.
With SmartQ’s app, employees can –
Order on the go – Order anytime, anywhere through a mobile app
Schedule delivery as per their convenience – You get to pick the slot once the food is ready for you
Arrange for delivery to be made to their desk – Imagine piping hot food right at your desk without having to get off your chair!
Arrange for delivery to be made to the meeting room – We all know the best decisions are made when pizzas do the rounds)
Arrange to collect the food in person – You can choose to unwind at the cafeteria during your break. A change in a scene from your desk.
Opt for a subscription plan – Choose to have a specific set of meals delivered to you during a set number of days.
Kiosks at strategic locations
Another predominant element of a digital cafeteria is a self-ordering kiosk. A kiosk can come in handy if you want employees to still use the cafeteria but avoid the long lines. With a kiosk, you can –
Offer a digital experience - Employees can easily choose, customize the items, and place the order at lightning-fast speeds.
Ensure seamless integration with food stations - Orders are directly passed to the respective cafe or food station without employee or operator intervention.
Accept a variety of payments - Payments can be made by Debit/Credit card, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.
Integrate the solution with a variety of OS options – SmartQ’s solution, for instance, wide varieties of hardware options running on Windows, Android, and iOS operating systems.
Seamless Backend Operations
At the end of the day, all seamless customer touchpoints must be backed by seamless backend integrations. The better connected and organized the backend is, the better experience you can provide to your employees.
As soon as someone orders via the mobile/web solution or the kiosk, the kitchen display system flash the order on the screen notifying the chef. Similarly, once the order is ready, the chef can mark it complete on the system, immediately notifying the employee that it is ready for delivery or pick up.
With all the order-related data in one place, the chef can easily manage the day’s work and predict future demand. The same goes for Facility Managers. With a top-level view of the overall adoption and demand, they can efficiently manage multiple aspects of running a cafeteria. The biggest takeaway, therefore, comes in the form of transparency and accuracy. Armed with consumption-related data, managers can easily reduce food wastage and plan resources well in advance.
A digitalized workplace cafeteria
So, with all this digitization, what happens to a workplace cafeteria? Everyone’s favorite spot remains functional as before, except it gets a lot safer, easier, and friendlier.
A cafeteria will always continue to remain one of the most important spaces in a workplace. Countless studies have proved the benefits of having break areas to rejuvenate hard-working employees. A quick trip to the cafeteria to grab a drink or a snack can perk people up and set them on course for a productive day.
It is equally important that a cafeteria acts as a space to bring many employees together. Bonding with peers outside of work has a positive impact on the interactions that take place during work.
A digitalized café, therefore, helps retain the true purpose of a cafeteria minus all its previous flaws. Without the long queues taking up all the space at the cafeteria, people can use the facility to get away from the hustle and bustle of their desks for well-deserved breaks.
Seats in the cafeteria can be reserved in advance to ensure employees get their fair share of time spent in the cafeteria. With orders being placed digitally and collections distributed across the day, the cafeteria does not become overcrowded, making it a safe place to unwind.
Interested in making your cafeteria contactless? SmartQ pioneers in developing a complete suite to innovate corporate cafeterias. With integrated payments and multiple ordering, intimation, and informational channels, SmartQ has ushered in a revolution that is here to stay for a long time to come. Get in touch with us today to transform your cafeteria.