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Understanding the investments involved in transforming your workplace cafeteria

‘Digital’ and ‘Digitalisation’ are all the rage right now and for the right reasons. While we’re familiar with their impact on our personal lives, how have they transformed personal spaces within professional setups? We take a look at everyone’s favorite space at work - The Cafeteria.

Digital Cafeteria is no longer the future, it is a reality. Companies across the world have transformed their traditional cafeteria spaces to make way for this new reality. It doesn’t involve a complete overhaul of current operations; it only involves making a few adjustments and upgrades for smooth online functioning.

Take, for instance, the age-old problem of one cafeteria and too many employees. Typically, all workplace cafeterias are overcrowded. There are long queues for payments and equally long queues for order collection. By digitizing cafeteria options, employees get to skip the queues entirely by placing orders remotely, paying through cashless transactions, and finally, arriving at the cafeteria to only collect orders when they are ready.

The extra time saved can in turn be spent on more fulfilling activities like catching up with fellow employees and unwinding in meet and greet spaces. The streamlining is also great for the backend. Orders are captured in an organized manner, the kitchen can divide and fulfill orders on-demand to avoid any food wastage, and the facility manager has all the data required to make data-driven decisions for future order management.

Let’s explore the kind of investments required to make this transformation to a digital cafeteria.

Making Digital Cafeteria a reality

By now you’ve seen how a digital cafeteria can truly add value to your workplace. The employee experience it can provide, in particular, stands out among its other benefits. Employees appreciate companies that work towards making spaces more convenient and addressing the daily hassles they may face at work.

The key is to acknowledge the much-needed transformation as an investment that will yield great results as opposed to looking at it as ‘costs incurred’. A cost to the company indicates a more one-time benefit while an investment indicates recurring, long-term benefits. It is important for the management, especially facility managers, to recognize the value and foresee the tremendous benefits it can bring about to the company before making this decision.

One way to go about it is to have clear budgets set aside for the same. Once managers recognize it as an essential part of upgrading facilities to provide a convenient experience to employees, it will seamlessly blend in with the regular upkeep expenses.

“The actual investment involved in transforming your cafeteria depends on the type of solution operators opt for,” Rakesh, Director - Operations, at SmartQ explains.

“In its simplest form, the solution involves set up of both, employee-facing as well as a vendor facing application through which menus can be viewed and orders can be placed. From the vendor side, the kitchen is alerted of new orders for action and the team can update the status of the order as it progresses.

Such a setup requires the least amount of hardware, so vendors can use their own mobile phones. All it requires is good internet connectivity. In such a scenario only a license fee for the application will be applicable,” he adds.

Such a plug-and-play model can be put into action very quickly and is one of the most preferred methods of introducing digital cafeterias in the workplace.

Transforming traditional models to move to futuristic models

Moving to futuristic models and transforming the cafeteria set up in its entirety involves more elements. It can involve screens in the cafeteria that display the day’s menu, it can also involve order authentication systems that require users to scan QR codes to authenticate the order they have placed.

There are many other aspects of cafeteria operations that can be added to the system. For example, Tablets can be placed in the cafeteria to collect feedback. The feedback collected is more organized and can be used as a reliable source of information for continuous improvement.

From the pandemic standpoint, features like table booking can be enabled to ensure ample seating and avoid overcrowding at cafeterias. Some solutions involve the setup of hardware, the investment in such scenarios is more than lighter models.

“However, since SmartQ has been at the helm of these projects, we are able to procure the hardware required at optimal costs,” adds Rakesh.

Custom requirements will also attract different investment models. Some companies may only want certain aspects of the solution, some may want to integrate these solutions with existing models, white-label solutions, or even want solutions that address unique problems they’re facing.

To understand what it is that works for your cafeteria setup, you can talk to SmartQ for a variety of solutions aimed at transforming the employee experience. Begin your journey today.

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