At the end of last year, the trend for convenience was already strong and only six months on, the demand from consumers for pre-ordering is now markedly increasing. Our 2018 research found that two fifths of UK workers with a canteen (40%) would visit their workplace restaurant more often if the service was quicker or they could pre-order their food and pick it up without queuing at all. This January, technology provider Omnico’s research found that 82% of UK employees would buy meals more often from their workplace canteen or restaurant if they could order ahead and pick up their meal from a dedicated service point. 52% would use order ahead capability every time, if available, and 29% would use it some of the time. 37% of respondents would make two or more extra visits per week if they could order ahead.
Equally, we found that promotions and rewards for loyalty are an important part of attracting customers. Responding to our survey last year, well over half (57%) of workers said they would visit more often if there was a loyalty scheme that offered personalised deals. Omnico’s recent research showed that 70% said they would visit more frequently if the staff cafeteria operated a personalised loyalty programme which they could access via any channel.
These surveys show that caterers and facilities managers need to adapt their approach to service provision now in order to fulfil workers’ demands. The good news is that we’re seeing contract caterers increasingly adopting new technologies in response. For example, our corporate caterer client Artizian has now adopted an in-house integrated order-ahead solution. Artizian specialises in sourcing, cooking and serving the best fresh food to the workplace. The company, which runs in-house office cafes, restaurants and coffee bars for UK businesses, has introduced a new service at a multinational company in the City of London, which enables workers to download a dedicated app and pre-order from the company coffee cart or café.
Elsewhere in the industry, CH&Co has a dedicated app that is free for all customers to use and Bartlett Mitchell’s digital apps strategy is resulting in 20% growth in site sales. Since launching its first app in 2014, the company has created more than 30 multi-site platforms for client sites – where the front-end design is bespoke and back-end technology is shared.
For the rest of the year we anticipate that innovation in corporate catering will play an increasingly important role in keeping employees happy and fulfilling demand for convenience and a personalised experience.
This article was featured in i-FM magazine.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.