Workplace Micro Markets Beat Restaurant Take Out and Delivery
The effects and reality of COVID-19 changed the workplace for now and into the foreseeable future. One of the biggest concerns for employers is how to keep employees safer while at work, including reducing the need for workers to come and go during the course of their workday.
If your employees previously left to go get coffee drinks or purchase meals and snacks, how do you make sure employees have access to what they need and want without all these off-campus field trips?
Obviously, one answer to this is that employees can order take out and food delivery services from local restaurants. But you still have a problem. If it is a restaurant take out, the employee still has to leave the workplace, go to another site, and exchange payment and collect food containers before returning to the workplace. If it is restaurant food delivery, someone who does not work at your facility is collecting the food containers from the restaurant, transporting them in their vehicle and handing them off to your employees.
In both cases, there are several points of contact where potential exposure could occur. In addition, in the case of food delivery services, you may or may not know what protocols the driver has in place to ensure contactless transfers and frequent vehicle cleaning and sanitizing. In fact, your driver may transport not only food locally but participate in ride-sharing, which means other people may also get in and out of the vehicle, creating multiple opportunities for virus transfer.
Workplace micro markets meet employee’s needs better than restaurant take out and delivery.
Even before COVID-19 impacted the food service industry, two-thirds of consumers said they purchased prepared foods from retail stores at least three times a month in 2019 (up 11 percent from 2017). Half of those people who are now buying more prepared foods than they were last year also said they visited fast food restaurants less during the same time period.
Retail food is a natural competitor to fast food restaurants, which are often the go-to for workers who go out for food during lunch and breaks. Even more consumers said they would buy more prepared foods from retail sites if quality and value were improved through:
• Sales, special offers and promotions
• Sampling of specific or new products
• Using imagery to promote or entice purchases
• Increasing variety and freshness of ingredients
Micro markets improve your ability to attract and retain workers, not just feed them! Among consumers polled, the appeal of purchasing prepared foods was even higher among younger generations (Millennials and Generation Z). “Fresh grab-and-go offerings, quality ingredients and natural/organic offerings stand out as initiatives that are more likely to drive purchases among younger rather than older consumers.” (Technomic)
Micro markets are a great match for employees eating habits in the wake of COVID-19, too. Studies have found that Americans are opting for more frequent snacks throughout the day vs traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner mealtimes. Specifically, Americans are turning to comfort foods to get through the day:
• 60% – potato chips
• 59% – ice cream
• 58% – candy
• 56% – pizza
• 51% – macaroni and cheese
Micro markets make comfort foods and healthy snacks workers are looking for available when and where they need them. As an employer whose business houses a micro market, you also enjoy the added benefit of less time spent off-premises, which could translate into higher workday productivity, and definitely reduces potential exposures.
Restaurant delivery and take-out is not an ideal solution, but workplace micro markets might be!
Our micro market retail stores could be the ideal way to provide a wide variety of safe food and beverage options to your employees. In addition, we can usually set up a micro market at your location at little or no cost to your company. Micro markets also offer many advantages over traditional workplace vending machines and pantries:
• Exponentially more food and beverage options to choose from
• Ability to subsidize through promotions, employee incentives and rewards
• Ability to offer non-vendable items (items that don’t fit into traditional vending machines)
• Appropriately packaged fresh foods stored at the right temperatures
• Behind-the-glass viewing (vs. typical drawer and cupboard or shared refrigerator pantry items)
• Completely managed and adjusted based on demand and consumption
• Contactless payment technology
Likewise, when comparing on-site micro markets with restaurant take out and food delivery there are many advantages to installing a micro market at your workplace, including safety. When COVID-19 changed your workplace, it changed our workplace too. We had to examine every aspect of how we provide services to our customers as it affects their safety and the safety of our employees.
Our drivers sanitize their trucks daily and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the course of their work at our facility and at your facility. They have protocols in place for sanitizing micro markets and they are ready to teach you how to clean and sanitize your micro market more frequently in between service calls. Instead of having random delivery drivers coming to your facility throughout the day, you will have a dedicated micro market manager, limiting the number of non-employees who have to come in and out of your facility.
We have micro market operators in your area who can take the pain out of employee food service.
If you are an employee who wants a micro market at your place of work, please forward this on to the appropriate person in your organization or contact us to tell us who to reach out to, and leave it up to us!