Imagine a large dining area bathed in sunlight and offering a gorgeous terrace view laden with greenery. This is the sort of cafeteria that roughly 700 Hertz employees will be able to enjoy on the company’s new $68 million property in Estero, Florida. The cafeteria is able to handle hundreds of people and even suitable for webcasts in moments.
These sorts of cafeterias are intended to make worker’s meals more enjoyable. Other companies like Google, Bloomberg and FactSet have all taken to offer free on-site comestibles. Furthermore, other Floridian companies have begun to consider similar measures to Hertz, replacing repetitive meal plans and cubicle meals for a broad and brilliant dining hall that offers made-to-order meals and can accommodate health-conscious tastes.
On-Site Cafeteria Increase Productivity
These corporate cafeteria improvements are seen as a way of keeping employee morale high without a commensurate drop in productivity or efficiency. The companies investing in these sorts of dining options are less concerned with eyeing employees’ status on or off the clock and more concerned with making their employees free to relax in comfort when they eat. This attitude is believed to foster a desire to be more productive, to make the thankful employees work harder under their own power.
Since one firm moved into a 120,000 square foot complex back in 2012, the cafeteria transitioned into a fast casual restaurant/meeting hall/training room. Brilliant orange and blue plastic chairs are arranged at banquet tables. While there are 200 tables, enough space exists to accommodate as many as 550.
Featured offerings of the menu include both hot and cold buffet, made-to-order food areas and individual bars for making coffee or smoothies. Grab-and-go items are also offered, such as branded meals, smoothies and vitamin water, in temperature-controlled coolers. Furthermore, each wing of each floor offers a kitchenette laden with a refrigerator, multiple microwaves and a coffee zone with free branded coffee. The more health-conscious employees can grab free fruit in the morning. While a proper hot breakfast goes for between $2 and $3, lunches range between $4 and $6.
Christian Holden, an executive employee with this firm known as Gartner, remarks that a modern cafeteria fosters camaraderie and teamwork among employees. She likens it to a college common sans the college and finds countless instances of employees feeling free to network and communicate with coworkers.
According to Adam hinds, VP of national store support operations, The Chico’s Fort Myers headquarters features 12 buildings, three of which include cafeterias. The Chico’s has around 1,800 employees spread across 540,000 square feet of offices. It took a contract with Sunshine Cafe Inc. to cover food services. While this began as nothing more than salads and cold sandwiches, it has since expanded its offerings.
- Melting Pot Cafe provides a salad bar and hot meals like burgers and pizzas.
- Viva Verna Cafe, strategically positioned adjacent to the gym, offers healthy items like salads, wraps and other healthy or light fare.
- Cafe 10, named for the building number it resides within, offers paninis, cold sandwiches, and unique salads like the Mount Fuji; bacon, sun-dried cranberries, field friends, crumbled Gorgonzola, mesclun mix, mushrooms, red onions, pecans, tomatoes and smoked turkey drizzled with a pinot noir shallot vinaigrette.
While employees are free to eat at restaurants near their work, companies are slowly beginning to realize that a quality dining experience in-house helps keep communication and collaboration flow between employees throughout the work day-rather than start and stop around lunchtime. The whole point of the building is to foster as much collaboration, communication and transparency as can be done. It just so happens that a dining space that encourages employees to linger on-site easily works to check off all three of those boxes.