COVID-19 has changed almost everything about how people work, including lunch. Although many professionals are working from home right now, some industries require working on-site. ezCater surveyed over 500 business professionals who are currently working in person to understand how the pandemic has changed how they order food for work and how they eat it.
How lunch has changed
When it comes to eating lunch at work, many more employees report getting takeout or delivery vs. bringing their lunch from home.
- 51% get takeout or delivery for meals
- 25% bring their lunch from home
- 11% get lunch from a cafeteria (Some office cafeterias are closed or reopening in phases due to limited staff in the building.)
Food for work is more than a perk
Historically, employers have offered free food as a job perk. Now, employers see free or subsidized meals as a way to keep their people safe and productive, and to appreciate them for working on-site during a pandemic.
33% of companies have increased their meal budget, price-per-head, and ordering frequency during COVID. Two-thirds of companies now offer free or discounted food at work and over 80% of them offer it at least weekly.
The rise of boxed lunches
Demand for individually packaged items on ezcater.com has increased 5x since March 2020. Over half of ezCater orders now include individually packaged items.
Boxed lunches are the most searched item on our marketplace. They are ideal for social distancing: no shared utensils, and people can quickly grab and go.
COVID-smart food for work
We recommend this COVID-smart approach to ordering food for work:
Minimize contact with the outside world: Employees should combine food delivery into a single group order whenever possible.
Avoid close contact: Limit the size and spacing of groups and stagger lunch times so fewer employees use break rooms, kitchens, or other eating areas simultaneously.
Keep eating spaces clean: The CDC recommends that you clean and disinfect eating spaces between each use, or at least every two hours. Provide disinfecting wipes for employees to clean tables and chairs.