6 Ways to Prepare Your Restaurant for the Return of Office Catering
- 3 Min Read
One side effect of the past year’s lockdown is that a whole lot of people got up to speed on ordering food online. With more and more people back in the office, that means an increased comfort level in ordering office catering delivery, especially in the near-term while safety is still on their minds.
We recently surveyed 600 returning employees and managers about the role of food in the return to the office. 83% of leaders surveyed believe their companies will need to offer incentives to persuade employees to work onsite. 7 out of 10 employees say that they would be more likely to come into the office if their employer offered free meals.. Combine that with the fact that 57% of those already back in the office are holding lunch meetings, and it’s clear that food delivery is playing a pivotal role in office reopenings.
On top of that, 33% of companies have increased their meal budget, price-per-head, and/or ordering frequency.If restaurants want to capture new business and new customers, they need to be prepared to meet returning office workers’ food needs. Here are 6 ways you can optimize and prepare for the post-COVID return to work.
Now that more consumers are used to ordering online, it’s more important than ever for restaurants to optimize their online presence. This means making your catering section easy to find, and persistently accessible throughout your brand’s website and social media experience.It also means ensuring that the online ordering experience is smooth and seamless.
Consider incentivizing your customers with special “welcome back” promotions through ezOrdering. ezManage lets you create customer promotion codes redeemable through the ezOrdering link on your website.
Reassess Your Minimum Quantities
In our survey, 61% of companies reported that they now plan to operate on a hybrid remote/onsite model. The new hybrid workplace means that on any given day, only a fraction of the full office team are likely to be onsite. Teams and administrators are going to need additional flexibility as they navigate the new environment and fluctuations in headcount. Restaurants that offer a variety of packaging options – both traditional/tray catering and individually packaged meals – alongside reduced restrictions (fewer minimum quantities on menu items and lower minimum order size) will be very appealing and gain a competitive advantage over other providers.
Reduce Lead Times Where Possible
Our data shows that 47% of our customers need catering within 24 hours, and about 14% need their orders within 4 hours. Offering customers the convenience of quick turnarounds is one sure way to win them over. Customers have adapted to this on-demand digital world. While many customers do plan ahead, this is an opportunity to be the hero in a pinch. If you restrict your lead times too much, your restaurant won’t even be in the running for these high-value customers.
Support Dietary Restrictions
The top three most frequently used dietary filters on our marketplace are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Be clear about how you design menu items to help customers meet these dietary needs! Also, be really clear when labeling menu items to highlight the fact that you can accommodate all these special requests with ease.
Add Beverage, Utensil Options
Adding beverages is a quick way to increase your average order volume. Beverages attach rates are up significantly since COVID, as offices look for all-inclusive solutions. Adding individual and bulk options is a win.
You also need to be clear on whether or not you’re including plastic cutlery, paper plates, and cups. Some offices no longer offer shared cutlery in their break rooms, so they will need these items included with their order.
Add Images to Your Menu Items
Our data shows that customers want to see photos of exactly what they’re ordering. In our recent guide on how to grow your catering business with menu photos, we noted that item-level menu photos help eliminate uncertainty, and make the viewer a lot more likely to place an order.
Here are 3 great resources ezCater offers to help our catering partners: