You have read on the media about companies that provide food for it’s employees, and you are wondering whether that is something you should be doing. After all, you want to stay competitive when attracting top talent, and let’s face it, unlimited food in the office is an attractive perk!
According to a study by Peapod, companies that provide free food have happier employees compared with those who don't get to chow down on their employer's dime. The effect is even larger with millennial employees, who overwhelmingly say that perks such as this one weigh heavily on their decision to take a job offer.
So what is a progressive HR manager to do to keep employees happy while keeping mindful of the bottom line?
Here are some steps you can take to see if a program like this would be a good fit for your company and employees:
- Assess your current assets and facilities. This will most likely dictate the extent of what you will be able to offer.
-What kind of space do you have available? Just enough for a vending-machine set-up or big enough for a catering kitchen?
-Is management weary or excited about taking this step? If you don’t have their full support, it doesn’t mean you have to scratch the idea all together; it just means you have to take baby steps towards your goal.
-Budget, of course!
2. Test, test, test
One great way to test the idea and tweak your plan is to hire a local caterer to provide a similar service to what you ultimately want to offer for a limited time. Maybe you already have a relationship with a company that caters your events. Event caterers are better for this versus your local sandwich place because they offer much more flexibility and expertise.
Talk to them about your plan, and have them service your company for a specified amount of time. During that time, you can switch out the type of service every couple of weeks, meal times, location and even serve different departments. This will allow you to see what works and what doesn’t. It is extremely important to survey your employees at this stage.
After the specified period of time you should have enough data collected to learn what worked, what didn’t, and whether the program had the positive results you wanted.
Depending on the scope of the project, this could be as simple as researching vending machine vendors to planning an entire cafeteria build-out. Whatever you decide on, make sure that you keep asking employee feedback at every step.
No matter what you decide, your caterer can provide a wealth of knowledge that they should be really happy to share with you. A reputable caterer such as Bistro Express will have ample experience with sourcing, staffing, costing, kitchen and dining room design.