Reviewing a workplace catering or employee dining contract – Part I
As a specialist catering consultant practice, we are often asked by organisations from within business and industry to review their workplace catering facilities. Over a series of small catering consultant articles, part of the Catering Consultant article series, we explore what should be considered when reviewing employee dining facilities as well as catering services for multiple occupant buildings. While some commonalities do exist when undertaking operational and financial reviews for other types of organisations, the focus of this article is for workplace catering or employee dining, including offices and other business and industry related catering. Reviewing catering and cafes for other organisation types will be addressed later in the Catering Consultant series.
Why should we be reviewing our workplace catering contract or employee dining provision?
You might be asking, ‘so why should we be reviewing our workplace catering service?’
As independent catering consultants, we believe there are many reasons why you should be reviewing your employee dining or workplace catering. Specifically, some of the questions and areas you may be considering, or should be considering, include?
- Is our workplace catering still relevant to our employees and occupants?
- Do we have the same number of employees or building occupants? Is this going down or up and if so how does the catering service need to adapt?
- Are we getting best value from our caterer?
- Who are the new catering companies working with staff restaurants?
- How much should our catering service be costing and should it be making money?
- What do employees and other customers think about our catering service?
- What are our peers doing in terms of their staff restaurant, hospitality provision and private dining offer?
- What is happening with food trends outside of the workplace and business and industry sector and how relevant are they for us?
- Are there external factors that mean we should change our catering offer? External factors could be changes in competition or more serious matters such as the impact of Coronavirus?
- Is our catering staffing structure and staffing levels appropriate?
- Is our caterer providing an appropriate range of healthy choices and nutritiously balanced meals?
- Is the pricing structure in our staff restaurant appropriate?
- What is the correct level of management fee to pay our caterer?
- What sustainability initiatives should our staff restaurant and caterer be doing?
- Are we hitting an appropriate sales level from customers in our staff restaurant?
- What should the level of subsidy in our staff restaurant be?
- What are other caterers providing in similar office and workplace environments?
- How are our peers and competitors providing hospitality and private dining room services?
- How do we make our catering offer more flexible and agile so we can quickly adjust to changing needs and requirements?
What should be included in a workplace catering operational and financial review?
Workplace Market Focused Catering Review
Montfort Catering Consultants’ view is that the starting point for all workplace operational and financial reviews is that they must be market led or customer centric. After all, if the staff catering doesn’t meet and exceed a defined group of customers’ expectations then it will not succeed. In fact, we have three key elements that we apply to all catering consultancy assignments:
- Customer Centric – Our empathetic customer centric approach supports creating a sense of place for the food and drink operations that we are asked to improve and develop. Ask employees and wider customer groups their views on your employee dining and wider workplace catering service. While views on the current catering service are important, it is important to focus on what they would like in the future. What would encourage them to utilise the staff catering facilities more?
- Commercially Sustainable – As specialist catering consultants we are able to provide greater assurance to the long-term success of your workplace catering operation through the provision of expert knowledge and advice. We apply our knowledge and expertise from our wider work in the commercial sector to ensure that workplace catering matches expectations as well as being commercially sustainable.
- Culturally Sympathetic – Our catering consultants ensure that workplace catering is culturally sympathetic and relevant to the wider aspirations and activities of the organisation as well as being appropriate to the building design and style.
Taking the above in to consideration there are a number of areas for consideration in reviewing and developing workplace catering:
We have set out below a few headers for what we, Montfort Catering Consultants, typically consider and include in a workplace operational and financial review:
- Objectives & policies for workplace catering & hospitality.
- Foodservice research and trends.
- Market research for workplace catering.
- External environment considerations.
- Staff restaurant and hospitality quality performance audit.
- Workplace catering financial and contractual review.
We will be picking up on all of the above and setting out how to review a workplace catering service in our next part of this series. So do come back to find out more….
Posted on May 1st, 2020