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How to Design a Corporate Cafeteria

Updated: Dec 29, 2023


Introducing a corporate cafeteria to your workspace can be a highly effective way to elevate your company's office or facility. Your employees can relax and refuel during breaks without having to commute to a local lunch spot or place an order from a food delivery service.

Designing the perfect corporate cafeteria takes some planning and forethought to ensure you create the most beneficial space for your facility and team. We are breaking down how to open a cafeteria for your employees to promote productivity and enhance their daily routines.

What Is a Corporate Cafeteria?

A corporate cafeteria refers to an area in an office or workspace dedicated to dining. Employees can grab a bite from the on-site cafeteria rather than packing their own food or leaving the property to get something to eat. They are largely used for lunchtime but may offer workers breakfast, coffee and snacks.

There are various types of corporate cafeterias. Some involve a fully-staffed kitchen, while others feature something simpler, like grab-and-go boxed lunch options. The right in-office dining experience depends on your unique workspace and employee needs.

Introducing a cafeteria space to your business can supercharge your team's daily activities and improve their overall satisfaction with your business, among other benefits.

Why Are Company Cafeterias Important?

There are many reasons why your company should consider introducing a new on-site cafeteria to your office or facility. The following are some key advantages of having somewhere special to eat while on the job.

Boost Worker Productivity

A huge benefit of having a corporate cafeteria is increasing worker focus and engagement. In one survey, 51% of employees said their lunch break helps them increase productivity.

Having an on-site cafeteria makes getting a delicious meal and taking a moment to relax highly convenient, encouraging your staff to make the most of their lunch break. When workers enjoy their downtime, they are more likely to feel focused and ready to tackle the next part of their day.

Reduce Stress and Improve Attitudes

Another perk of having a corporate cafeteria is reducing stress. Your team doesn't have to quickly search for a lunch spot and hurry back to the office before their break ends. They can maximize their use of downtime without having to leave the premises.

Dining on-site also allows them to connect with their co-workers and build better rapport. Engaged employees are happier and have better attitudes toward their work.

Offering healthy food choices can also help your team manage stress and feel their best.

Enhance Overall Well-Being

Introducing a cafeteria to your office is an effective way to support and enhance your team's overall well-being. By providing a comfortable space to unwind, connect with other team members and eat healthy snacks, you can help your employees feel more energized and boost their daily focus.

A corporate cafeteria can help establish a culture of happiness, health and well-being among your staff.

How to Start a Cafeteria in Your Office

When you're ready to take your office's lunch break spot to the next level, a corporate cafeteria is an excellent solution. Follow these general steps for how to open a cafeteria for your employees. You can also work with businesses like Food For Thought to jumpstart the style, the space, and the efficiency of your corporate cafeteria.

Decide on a Cafeteria Style

First, assess your available space and consider what type of cafeteria solutions can work. Then, ask your team what sounds most appealing to them.

Some of the common cafeteria styles include:

  • Grab-and-go: Employees can pick from refrigerated food options like deli sandwiches or wraps.

  • Make-to-order: A full kitchen setup allows employees to order from a predetermined menu.

  • Boxed lunches: Prepacked lunches are available for on-the-go eating. As an example, they could include a deli sandwich, an apple, a bag of chips and a cookie.

  • Food halls: A corporate food hall may provide fresh food items from different branded concepts.

  • Daily drops: Catering allows for diverse food options on a day-to-day basis from local and chain restaurants.

Create a Dedicated Space

Once you have a general idea of what type of corporate cafeteria you want to offer, you can start narrowing in on your space. You'll want to choose somewhere in your office or facility that can support your kitchen or refrigeration needs. You'll also want to choose a location that won't distract other workers.

Consider the design and vibe you're going for. Do you want it to be cozy and inviting? Formal and minimalist? The type of space you want will guide your design plan.

Establish a Payment System

Next, assess how your team will pay for lunch and whether you will cover any of the costs. Some businesses, for example, provide weekly meal credits or cover basic meal options. Consider if you want to implement a points-based system or if your team will pay for their meals independently.

As you establish a payment system, you should also consider how much the food will cost and if the prices are feasible for your employees.

Plan the Menu

Now that you know what kind of cafeteria you want and the payment system you'll utilize, it is time to plan your menu. The types of food items you choose will depend on how you can prepare, serve and store them.

Consider if you need to accommodate any dietary restrictions for your team members. Be sure to offer a wide variety of options and include healthy menu items to help your team reduce stress and promote well-being.

You can work with businesses like Food For Thought to customize your meal options and deliver the best solutions to your team.

Specify a Maintenance Plan

The final phase of starting your corporate cafeteria is creating a plan for ongoing operations and maintenance.

How will you staff your cafeteria? Will your team have to clean up after themselves? How will you keep your menu items stocked? There are many factors to consider, and a comprehensive catering solution like Food For Thought can streamline all your maintenance needs.

Contact Food For Thought for In-Office Meal Solutions Today

If your company wants to add an exciting new corporate cafeteria to your workspace, turn to Food For Thought. As Chicago's top caterer, we can help by providing meal and employee solutions for your office.

We offer various turn-key office food program solutions, including daily drops, grab-and-go options, flexible pop-ups and more. Food For Thought also offers custom solutions to enhance your business's meal solutions and impress your team members.

Are you interested in learning more about bringing a corporate cafeteria to your workspace? Contact Food For Thought to get started today!

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