Going against the grain

The value of corporate catering as a much-appreciated employee benefit is particularly evident at two of our very long-standing clients’ city offices.

Amidst the Covid-induced upheaval these hospitality-only city contracts (one a property company and the other a Japanese bank) have now embraced a staff dining solution in the form of 1) a speedily installed café at the largest tea point and 2) a deliver-to-desk service via a trolley laden with freshly prepared breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. These new bolt-ons to Vacherin’s pre-Covid hospitality service means that our clients’ office-based staff are well-nourished within the safe confines of their workplace and that their hierarchy of needs are well and truly met.

This investment in their wellbeing demonstrates to their people the extent that they are valued – and for us, it shows the strength of our partnership with our client organisation as by broadening the scope of our service, our staff have remained in employment. Indeed, at the bank, the menu requests are coming in thick and fast from our customers to the point that John, our head chef of fifteen years has been honing his sushi-making skills and this week added temaki to his repertoire!

A well-respected catering consultant commented to us this week that catering in the workplace is not simply an FM service but very tangible staff benefit and that considering that the investment per employee is relatively low, the return from staff health wellbeing, productivity, loyalty, retention and the social element of food bringing people together is disproportionately high.

It would appear that with staff at home and fending for themselves on the food-front for the past seven months, a freshly cooked, healthy (or, on occasion indulgent) value-for-money meal in the company of colleagues is valued more highly than ever before. We expect to see less people in the offices when normality resumes; let’s hope companies reward those staff with a catering offer that contributes to the best all-round workplace experience on the days that they do spend in the office.