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Data to cater: how flexible working is impacting corporate canteens

Data to cater: how flexible working is impacting corporate canteens

The traditional 9-5 working day isn’t dead – but it’s fair to say that it’s in decline. Employees are operating more flexibly than ever, and remote working is increasing alongside the technology that makes it possible. But what’s often overlooked is how this is affecting the traditional lunch hour – and corporate canteens as a result.

Data to cater: how flexible working is impacting corporate canteens

Catering for changing footfall

According to flexibility experts Timewise, 63% of the UK’s full-time workforce now works flexibly. Meanwhile, ONS data reveals that more than a quarter of UK employees work part-time.

From the perspective of the corporate canteen, these are seismic changes. Firstly, the whole concept of the ‘lunch hour’ is undermined, because many staff may not be working a full day. Secondly, peak times will become much harder to predict, with shift patterns no longer managed from the top down. And finally, planning will vary from one day to the next, as a result of the growth of remote working.

None of this takes into account what is arguably an even bigger change: the traditional lunch hour is actually shrinking. Recent research from Preoday and Yoyo revealed that 36% of respondents take 30 minutes for lunch with a further 31% taking just 5-15 minutes. For canteens, more flexibility means more unpredictability.

Lunch break trends also vary considerably around the country. Our research found that people in the North of England take the shortest lunch breaks and eat in their canteens the most frequently. On the other hand, we found that people in Brighton relish their lunch breaks the most. If you’d like to find out more about different trends around the UK, our handy infographic gives the details.

Data has the answers

As always, the exact makeup and footfall of canteens will be individual to each workplace and that makes it all the more important to use the technology available to extract data and better understand canteen users. Using the data available will help improve stock control, peak-time management and the menu on offer.

Our partner Yoyo’s Workplace Canteen Footfall Tracker demonstrates the kinds of information you can discover about your canteen by using the analytics from pre-ordering and loyalty platforms like Preoday’s and Yoyo’s.

Download the full report now.

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