As soon as the clock hits 12, people’s lunch routines begin. Some stay at their desk with packed lunches, some choose exercise, others go to their on-site restaurant, and many go to the high street or elsewhere. So, how can you break these habits or support what they need? Well, I’ll go through some key things you need to consider…
Taking a proper lunch break means that your consumers are more productive
The majority of people like to spend their lunch on their own to recharge. It is important that you remain sensitive to this. Eating on-site not only impacts well-being and productivity, but also how an organisation and their culture is perceived. What can you do to encourage an on-site atmosphere benefitting the consumer? Well, you could introduce small pod areas for those wanting to eat alone or in smaller groups. You could highlight the space as being time for a break by having comfy seating and games for consumers to play. Basically, encourage the idea that your restaurant is a place to recharge away from their desk separate from work.
Innovation is key to have on your menu. You want your consumers who usually opt for a packed lunch to be tempted by the exciting flavours being cooked up on your site; it needs to entice them in. But, we all know that storage space can be a struggle that can limit your innovation. That’s why I launched Fast Flexible Flavour which focuses on how you can use one product in versatile ways to create multiple recipes that hit multiple trends. So you can maximise the storage space you have.
Your consumers struggle with work balance
23% of people eat lunch at their desk.  They open up something like an egg sandwich or a tuna baguette and leave a horrible smell lingering for the rest of the day, but they’re still potential footfall in your restaurant… even if their visit is brief and their purchase is small. Some consumers don’t even take a lunch break. Eating habits have definitely changed. What does this mean? Those who skip lunch are ultimately more stressed and less productive, an issue that could eventually lead to burn out. Your customers will want to prevent this and you can show your support by having an inviting on-site restaurant. Think about how you use your space. You could introduce music, games, pods, and comfy seating to provoke a relaxed atmosphere that consumers crave.
Also, a strong grab and go range is vital. We won’t change those that like to eat at their desk (I am not one of these, just to clarify) so let’s make it easy for them to enjoy your tasty food but at their desk. Try making your grab and go range visible and logical by placing it near the queue to encourage fast, spontaneous purchases. Those who are time-poor can then quickly come in, choose what they want and then head back to their desks.
This leads me onto my next point around sociable eating…
Sociable spaces are a big opportunity to increase sales
Only 26% of people eat their lunch with colleagues.  However, through the week, consumers are more likely to eat with their fellow colleagues as they are less likely to bring in their own lunch. Recent research shows that when it comes to Friday, employees have more of a treat mentality  which is a great opportunity for your menus to reflect this (bringing that #FridayFeeling). They are more likely to buy something a bit more unhealthy and they are even willing to pay a premium for it! Sociable eating is only going to get pushed more by your customers as unhealthy work life balance issues are acknowledged more, so the opportunity for you is only going to grow.
So is desk eating going to die out? This potentially could be the case in the near future as people become less patient with those stinky meals around their desk area and businesses try to promote proper breaks more. Many places have introduced clear desk policies and hot-desks which means food doesn’t get left around. Research suggests that less clutter reduces stress and increases focus, pushing the idea that desks are for working and not for eating lunch at.
There are so many different wants and needs in the work place and it’s so important that you offer something that appeals to all. Whether that’s by having a strong grab and go range or making use of your space to make it more comfortable for customers. This is why we work endlessly to support you with innovation and with the right range. Get in touch with us and we can help make your on-site restaurant the place to be when the clock strikes 12.
 Glassdoor, The Traditional Lunch Hour Is No Longer, 2019
 Bidfood Daytime Diets and Meal Planning Research, ABA, 2018
 The Globe and Mail, In this office desks are for working not eating lunch, 2017