Dean has been at his desk all day tackling an important work task. He quickly glances at his watch and realises that he’s skipped his lunch break. He pulls up his phone, goes through the specials at the cafeteria today and places his order. 20 minutes later, piping hot food is delivered to his desk, he takes a quick ten-minute break and he’s back to work feeling refreshed.
This is a normal work scenario – we’ve all been where Dean has, busting to meet those last-minute deadlines. But what’s incredible is how our work environment has evolved to help us handle these situations better. There are always going to be deadlines to meet, always work that’s marked ‘super important’ but does your workplace also help you achieve those deadlines? The answer to that one makes all the difference.
Workplaces today use technology in the best way possible – to make life convenient. Right from streamlining internal operations to employing digital solutions to improve overall employee experience, workplaces are investing heavily to ensure their employees are comfortable, happy, and productive.
The crucial role of employee experience in an organisation
According to Future Workplace’s 2020 HR Sentiment Survey, over 50% of HR and Business leaders indicated that employee experience was the major area of focus in HR. This was followed by a greater focus on using technology and artificial intelligence to automate routine tasks, performance management, and people analytics at 41%, 35% and 32% respectively.
This renewed focus on employee experience comes as no surprise as workplaces recognise the impact positive experiences have on the quality of work. A happy and satisfied employee is more likely to be productive and function as a valuable member of the organisation as opposed to one facing a bitter experience at the workplace.
There are several mechanisms in place to ensure that all employees are treated equally and are comfortable at work. One of the key areas addressed off late at work has been in the food and beverages department.
Evolution of food and beverages at the workplace
Surely, we’ve all heard of the availability of unlimited food at Google or the variety of healthy food options employees at LinkedIn are always presented with. What was once simply considered as a perk is now an essential demand at workplaces.
Earlier, employees carried their own lunch, gathered in common areas to consume them, and then dispersed. As HR leaders began to increasingly realise the importance of this much needed break, traditional cafeterias came into play. Workplaces had dedicated areas to unwind that also served its employees delicious food.
As workplaces scaled and the number of employees at workplaces increased, traditional cafeterias posed their own set of problems from long queues to long waiting periods. Having a set lunch period no longer sufficed as employees came in for multiple shifts, round the clock. Hence calling for a much more effective solution – the introduction of Digital Cafeterias.
Future of F&B at the workplace
1. Digital Cafeterias
A digital cafeteria is simply digitised cafeteria operations that help both employees as well as managers. This involves providing employees a mobile application that displays available food at the cafeteria. The mobile or web application like SmartQ also enables employees 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 overall management of the cafeteria.
Employees can now order on-the-go and have access to fresh food as per their convenience. That’s 100 points to ensuring employees have seamless dining experiences. The enhanced experience of having food delivered at any time will normalise having meetings over meals at the workplace. And who disagrees that having a pizza at a meeting makes it a whole lot better?
2. Smart Vending
Smart food vending machines placed strategically at workplaces means employees have access to snacks all the time. A modern vending machine offers a variety of options to choose from. It can have freshly packed meals, fruits and ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook meals. It can even be used to stock essential stationery items, medical supplies, and PPE kits to serve emergency requirements.
SmartQ’s smart vending machine allows employees to place orders on the app, make payment online, and collect it from the vending machine. As for efficiency in the back end, managers can easily manage inventories and stock up as per the orders only. Managers can also view real-time updates on temperature and health of the machine.
With vending machines available at their disposal, employees always have access to fresh food, no matter what time it is. That’s convenience!
3. Live Food Preparation Robots
While robots and artificial intelligence have made its way through many aspects of our lifestyle, food is not left far behind. Many cooking robots have now emerged in the market that help prepare fresh food. They are hassle-free, hygienic, and a convenient option for quick meals. At a workplace cafeteria, they can be used to make meals in bulk while saving essential manpower. This way, supply can always match up to the demand.
The future of workplace cafeterias, entirely run by cooking robots is not far away, we expect adoption to be slow but sure.
4. Subscription Models
Subscription models will become increasingly common at workplaces. Employees can choose their meal options on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis to avoid the hassle of having to choose their meals every day.
Employees who are following specific diets can benefit from the assurance that their choice of meals will be delivered to them at fixed times on a regular basis. It is also a great way to ensure your employees eat healthy meals at regular intervals.
5. Lively Cafeteria
With various models of food disbursement available, workplace cafeterias no longer have to be places with long dreaded queues. The true essence of a cafeteria is its ability to bring employees together for a break.
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.
As the food and beverages operations within workplaces embrace digital technology, employees emerge as the clear winners. Digitised operations, enhanced experiences and food on-demand will turn workplaces into pleasant spaces. This not only helps keep employees healthy and happy but also remains super productive.
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 a revolution that is here to stay for a long time to come.Get in touch with us today to transform your cafeteria.