Why Food Retailers Must Cater to Office Workers
You know what they say: you’re going to spend ⅓ of your life at work, so you’d better do something you love--and eat good food while you’re doing it.
The average prime-age working American works 7.8 more hours today than they did in 1979. That’s a lot of lunches. And snacks. And, on particularly long days, breakfasts and dinners. With more Americans spending more time at work, there’s an untapped opportunity for restaurants to reach new customers and fill this growing need of the on-the-go worker.
Selling into workplaces must be a part of any forward-thinking restaurant and quick-service’s strategy. The market is huge. There are 2.4M establishments with over 20 employees, employing over 100M people in the United States. Restaurants can cater to these increasingly productive workers by providing grab-and-go options, delivery, catering services, and using unattended stores to embed their products in the workplace.
Millennials, now the largest segment of the labor force, are known for placing a premium value on convenience. One of the best ways for restaurant brands to take advantage of this coveted demographic is to provide easily accessible food for them while they work. There are numerous channels to do so.
Some companies know how much employees appreciate having food available in the office. These companies have also figured out that employees staying on-site for lunch saves time and increases productivity. Restaurants can develop a robust catering service to meet the need for businesses looking to provide free meals for their employees.
While giving employees free lunch can boost employee morale and productivity, most companies cannot afford the cost or it’s not part of their company culture. That’s why providing grab-and-go options in brick-and-mortar stores, delivery services, and embedding retail in the workplace is essential for restaurants.
Grab-and-go occupies a sweet spot in workers’ dining habits. They get a break from their work but don’t have to wait for their order to be prepared. An efficient take-out system can appeal to workers in a similar way. Proper Food is an excellent example of a well-executed brick and mortar concept exclusively dedicated to grab 'n go.
Delivery is the solution for workers that don’t have the time or interest in leaving their offices at all. Third party delivery apps provide workers with a huge variety of on-demand dining options. While some claim not participating in the delivery app marketplace simply isn’t an option for retailers, I’d argue it’s a critical decision based on an individual restaurant’s profitability through that channel. Yes, the increased reach that comes with third party delivery platforms can drive meaningful top line revenue - but make sure those high fees aren’t eliminating your profit margin.
The latest innovative way for restaurants and food retailers to target workplaces is through embedded retail. This means that your restaurant’s grab ‘n go products are sold in the workplace itself, which is now made possible through the latest unattended retail technology. Byte Technology unattended stores provide a fresh approach to at-hand retail. Restaurants place a small, unattended store in a local office and fill it with prepared food and drink of their choice.
Byte Technology-powered stores are the most economical way to make the workplace part of your restaurant’s strategy. The restaurant is generating revenue off-premise and automated alerts tell the restaurant when a product should be restocked. Best of all, office workers see and buy food from the fridge all day long, keeping your brand top of mind from 9 to 5.
However you decide to bring the workplace into your restaurant’s growth strategy, you’ll gain access to a market hungry for your presence.