8 Ways a Corporate Dining Program

Improves Your Workplace Wellbeing, Culture and More

Onsite dining services for employees have varied over the past several decades, from cafeteria-style dining rooms to food halls and banks of vending machines to autonomous convenience. But in the past few years, the options have expanded considerably. Companies are offering employees everything from catered lunches to hot breakfasts to local food trucks.

The value of a robust onsite dining program has never been as important to organizations as it is now. Through these programs, companies are improving on-the-job productivity, increasing employee satisfaction, meeting diversity goals, adding a new revenue stream and more.

When you invest in onsite dining amenities, you reap eight leading benefits. 

chef serving food
Benefit 1

Improve employee productivity
with healthy food breaks

Health-related employee productivity losses can cost
employers 2-3x more in annual healthcare expenses

Employees that seldom eat fruits, vegetables and other low-fat foods at work are 93% more likely to experience increased loss in productivity, according to a study. Health-related employee productivity losses account for 77% of all productivity losses and can cost employers two to three times more in annual healthcare expenses.

Companies should strive to create a workplace where healthy foods are easy to find. Making even small changes in dining amenities can help encourage employees to make healthier food choices.

Healthy dining options companies should consider include:

Making fruits and
vegetables readily
available in the

Offer a free fruit or vegetable choice with every dining purchase

Add a cart service that brings fresh fruit and vegetables to employees

Benefit 2

Show you care about your
employees’ wellbeing

Unfortunately, just 24% of employees strongly agree their organization cares about their wellbeing, according to a Gallup study. When it comes to physical wellbeing, it means ensuring your workers have the energy they need to do their jobs well.

Employees that feel cared for are 69% less likely to hunt for a new job, 71% less likely to report burnout and five times more likely to become an advocate for their employers.

Employees that feel cared for are 69% less likely to hunt for a
new job and 71% less likely to report burnout

Organizations can introduce a variety of initiatives
to help employees’ physical wellbeing:

Add a health-focused
chef to your dining
program to create
more options

Offer employees healthy cooking classes to encourage healthy eating after work

Limit the availability of less-healthy options at the workplace

Benefit 3

Create a more appealing workplace
culture with special meal services

Disengaged employees are 3.8x more likely to say
that the culture is a reason for quitting their jobs

Disengaged employees are 3.8 times more likely than engaged employees to say that the culture is a reason for quitting their jobs, according to a study.

Organizational culture is a mix of several components, including how people communicate, the way employees are celebrated, and how employees are rewarded and recognized. One area that can have immediate impact on organizational culture is onsite dining amenities. One shoe manufacturer, for example, added new menu items during cultural events, including Diwali, Hispanic Heritage month and Black History month.

Here are just a few ways you can improve your
company’s culture through a revamped hospitality program:

Promote diversity by
offering menus that
reflect all populations

Feature food truck days that bring local favorites to employees

Offer workers dining rewards such as free meals for a job well done

Benefit 4

Improve employee retention
with enticing perks

U.S. workers cite free food as one of the top five persuasive perks to enhance recruitment and retention, according to Robert Half. With an increasingly challenging labor market, this could easily be the most important benefit of having a robust onsite dining program. Another survey found that 67% of full-time employees are very or extremely happy with their current jobs when offered access to complimentary meals.

With this in mind, one manufacturer decided to create a loyalty card program that gave employees a free breakfast after purchasing 10 meals. 

67% of full-time employees are very or extremely happy with
their current jobs when offered access to complimentary meals

Free food ideas don’t have to be over the top.
There are numerous ways to delight your employees:

Provide great free coffee and tea all day

Always keep a full basket of free grab-and-go health snacks available

Give your workers an occasional ‘free lunch’ to celebrate a milestone

Benefit 5

Boost your recruiting efforts
with a dining ‘wow’ factor

woman getting lunch

Along with employee retention, employee recruitment is top of mind for employers as the hiring crunch continues. Organizations are discovering that the best way to keep their positions filled is to improve their workplace. And one of the leading ways to do that is to create a dining program that has a ‘wow’ factor.

Achieving this goal requires making a commitment to innovation in dining. For example, create unique dining environments that meet the needs of a changing workforce. Also, take time to deeply understand your employees and create a custom dining program based on their exact needs and wants.

Steps you can take to add a ‘wow’ factor to your dining program might include:

Creating a one-of-a-kind restaurant that offers a rotating international menu

Giving Millennial employees flexible, comfortable and tech-savvy spaces to eat and socialize

Ensuring employees working non-traditional hours can access food via self-service concepts

Benefit 6

Enhance employee collaboration
through onsite dining

employees gathered at lunch

In the 1940s, three researchers made a unique discovery. They found that physical space is an important aspect of collaboration as well as lasting friendships. In our post-pandemic world, workers tend to desire collaboration above all else, because it was something they lost during the shutdown. Creating a dining venue that encourages collaboration can help rebuild connections which can help employees bond, work together more productively and spark innovative new ideas that benefit the company.

A few ways you can help enhance collaboration among your employees are:

Encourage them to share meals together with special 2-for-1 offers

Create comfortable, social-forward dining spaces that inspire interaction

Make your dining services more appealing than leaving the workplace to eat

Benefit 7

Enhance your sustainability
posture for a better world

local fruits and vegetables

Sustainability is an important goal for businesses. Both consumers and employees have high expectations for their employers and the businesses where they spend money. Having an onsite dining program is a great way to showcase your commitment to sustainability. It offers multiple opportunities to both improve the planet and your employees’ expectations.

Among the opportunities for demonstrating your commitment to
sustainability in your corporate dining program are these ideas:

Source ethically and inclusively such as fair-trade coffee and local produce

Share information on where the food you purchase comes from with employees

Establish a supplier code of conduct to ensure they align with your goals

Benefit 8

Generate revenue from
meal and drink sales

woman ordering food on touch screen

Not only does an onsite dining program offer multiple soft benefits, such as hiring and retention incentives, cultural enhancements or productivity boosters, it can also add an additional source of income to an organization’s bottom line. Opportunities to generate revenue increase when you’re operating from a deep level of dining experience. This helps you avoid pitfalls and optimize opportunities.

Achieving a steady cash flow from your dining program is
enhanced with a well-rounded program that includes:

A strategy to entice more employees to dine onsite versus dining off-site or at home

A plan for operating with a high degree of efficiency — from managing staff to inventory

A way to create unique meals that entice more employees to enjoy delicious, healthy meals

What to Expect
from Onsite Dining

Onsite Frequency and Meals

of respondents eat at
their onsite dining location
2-6 times per week
salad bar
Multiple times
throughout each day
Once everyday
5-6 times per week
3-4 times per week
1-2 times per week
Less than once a week
I have never visited an
onsite dining location
Ready to Create Your

Ultimate Hybrid Dining Program?

As businesses evolve their dining programs to meet greater employee demands, including a hybrid workforce, the dining programs look different from one organization to the next. While one company may offer their employees boxed lunches so they can eat on the go, another company might be hiring local food trucks to prepare special lunches for employees one day every week. Onsite dining options are nearly limitless.

rice bowl ingredients

What dining concepts and supportive services will help you achieve your organization’s business goal for a hybrid workplace? Find out by using our interactive tool! It can help you envision a better dining experience for your hybrid workforce by giving you ideas on how to take your program to the next level — such as adding social events or offering at-home dining opportunities.

Explore the possibilities for your hybrid dining program.
explore now

An Experienced Dining Partner Can Help You Create Your Perfect Employee Dining Program

Aramark Workplace Experience Group has been delivering exceptional dining experiences for years. Our corporate dining programs are custom designed to meet both your needs and those of your workforce.

Here are a few of the many benefits we bring to the table:

  • We understand that food is a driver of employee satisfaction, so we do everything possible to ensure your employees are engaged, satisfied and delighted with their dining experiences.
  • We deliver unique culinary experiences that allow your employees to dine at the office in delightful ways — from eat-in dining areas with full menus to convenient grab-and-go kiosk options.
  • We focus on the ‘wow’ factor with healthy food options, international flavors and local specialty dishes, all prepared with fresh and local ingredients.
  • Our programs are customized to your site and your employees, so you can achieve your business goals. 

chefs making tacos

If you’re ready to take your dining program to the next level — and start gaining all the benefits — contact us to discuss how we can help you get there.