Workplace ‘takeaways’, shift-based lunches and more pre-ordering are all likely to be the new ‘normal’ when the Covid-19 lockdown period has passed, according to a group of catering and FM consultants.
Speaking during ‘Connect and Collaborate’ workshops developed by Bartlett Mitchell, the catering experts discussed how, as more people are expected to work from home, plus the introduction of ‘shift’ patterns and gradual removal of lockdown measures, the workplace is likely to change significantly in the foreseeable future.
The workshops feature voices from across the catering and FM sector, including consultants, FM directors and workplace experts. Meeting regularly in virtual hubs, the groups discuss the main challenges facing the sector and how the physical, cultural and behavioural shape of catering and FM would be adapting during the next 12 months.
Attendees included consultants from Neller Davies, Stern Consultancy, Catering Consultancy Bureau, Jess Consultancy, and Turpin Smile, and FM and procurement directors from leading law, technology and finance firms.
Main findings from the sessions include:
• Reshaping menus – food offers for a post-Covid-19 world will need to change dramatically, with menus needing to be more ‘delivery-friendly’, or be able to be hosted in newly designed workplace restaurants.
• Any sharing, or self-service style food should be removed
• Health and safety– specific training and development will be required by teams when preparing for a return to work in a new socially distanced environment
• Customers and guests will need to be offered guidance and information about new ways of working and measures taken to minimise risk. Restaurant hosts and guides are likely to be deployed to guide people through zones and control the movement of people
• Shift-based footfall – some city businesses are likely to implement shift patterns for those who come to the office. ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams are likely to be deployed on a weekly basis.
• There are likely to be lunch shifts in some organisations to reduce traffic and queuing wherever possible.
• Intelligent technology- there will be more of an emphasis placed on using technology to pre-order food, as well as to communicate key messages to customers and guests to help to reassure them during the initial post-lockdown period. ‘Click and collect’ is expected to feature heavily during the initial months.
The company is using the findings to feed into conversations with UK Hospitality where Wendy Bartlett, founder of Bartlett Mitchell, is a board member. The foodservice forum of UK Hospitality is using insights on workplace catering to inform post-lockdown government policy.
Wendy Bartlett said: “The world that we have all known and loved for so long is certainly likely to change dramatically in the foreseeable future and we are all need to be prepared.
“Whatever happens in the coming months and years, we will all have learnt some valuable and probably tough lessons. It is, however, very inspiring to work together with our ‘frenemies’ from the contract catering world to put forward one voice to government with UK Hospitality.”