4 Ways Food Fits into Your Coronavirus “Return to Work” Plan
- Veronica Gage
- 3 Min Read
As the return to the office begins, we’re all thinking about how to handle food at work, given coronavirus. Serving 123 million business people in over 22,000 cities means ezCater sees real-time trends in how people order food for work. Many of our customers have been asking us to share what we’re seeing.
Here’s a list of key areas to consider as you plan the return to work. We’re here to help with food-related issues — don’t let all these questions overwhelm you!
Before finalizing your policies, be sure to consult local, state, and federal guidelines (such as the CDC).
Food in common areas
We are inherently social beings and often prefer to eat together. How should you approach policies around common areas?
- Do you plan to keep your office kitchen open to employees?
- Should you permit employees to gather and/or eat in common areas?
- Will you stagger lunch times for different teams?
- Will you create greater space among tables and chairs?
- Should you order breakfast and/or lunch for the office on a daily basis to avoid outside contact?
Food packaging and serving
Over 58% of ezCater orders now contain individually packaged items. Individually packaged catering allows your staff to grab their food and exit the serving area quickly. The most popular format of individually packaged catering is boxed lunches, and specifically sandwiches, though many customers continue to order family-style catering as well.
When ordering food for groups of people at work, consider the following:
- Should you require individually packaged catering or boxed lunches? (Individually wrapped items served on a catering tray are a reasonable alternative.) What about individually wrapped snacks?
- Family-style (tray) catering: should you assign a dedicated server? Should you rotate out serving utensils, and how often?
- Should you require disposable plates and cutlery vs. reusables?
Many people have embraced contactless delivery while working from home, and many of our customers have already established designated delivery areas in their office to receive hands-off food deliveries. Some customers who have remained open during this crisis provide a catered company lunch daily vs. having employees go out to get their lunches.
- Should you require contactless delivery?
- Do you have an area set aside to receive food deliveries?
- Should all food ordering be centralized through one person or team for better visibility and control?
Food for in-office meetings
Consider established guidelines for social distancing when setting up conference rooms and company meals. As of this publishing date, federal guidelines recommend that people maintain at least a 6-ft distance from each other.
- Should you provide food for meetings that occur during breakfast and lunch? In the conference room or outside of it?
- Should you require individually packaged catering?
- Should you limit the number of people in a conference room? (You can still create a single catering order and distribute meals to multiple rooms or meetings).
If you want to get started planning food delivery for your company, we’re here to help.
For more comprehensive advice on the return to the office, check out the Handbook for a COVID-Smart Return to Work, with content from CBRE, ezCater, Google, Marsh & McLennan, Quest Diagnostics, and Staples.
We have created a PDF version of this article as a guide to share with your colleagues or use in presentations.