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COVID-19 | Workplace Foodservices post Pandemic (The Caterers’ Perspectives)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. | MARGARET MEAD

UK foodservices have worked tirelessly to adapt, evolve & create a “new normal”. See what 23 Caterers say (see below), in representing the hard working 2nd largest sector in the UK and the mood of the foodservice sector.

At the beginning of June, an early broadcast to the nation highlighted the impact of Covid-19 as “disproportionate” for those of certain ethnic origins. It was clear to us that an entire sector had been working tirelessly behind-the-scenes, through the 3 lockdown months, re-defining the safest environments in the history of foodservices for a safe and healthy return to the workplace for everyone, irrespective of ethnicity.

The sector: the UK hospitality industry – second largest employer in the UK (second only to the NHS).

Having engaged 35 foodservice operators in May 2020, we saw a collection of positive, can-doers already shaping the “new normal” to reassure corporates and workforces of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and coffee breaks were TODAY safer in their hands than ever before (certainly safer than in the hands of high street retailers).

Further to TAF’s previous article in Hospitality and Catering News “Workplace Catering: A Client’s View”, TAF presented “Workplace Foodservices: The Caterers Perspectives”. This time we wanted to represent the collective views of the caterers in our network.

CLICK here to read the full article: https://lnkd.in/dddd8HX

Summary

  • As we reported previously, many industries have been operational throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, working diligently from home offices.
  • Simultaneously, those in foodservices were also doing the same, with clear intent and purpose: to adapt, evolve and innovate to best reboot the UK economy, in the workplace.
  • After having approached the foodservice operators within TAF’s network, we were able to present a united front – to communicate and reassure corporate organisations of the measures in place, to shape their future workplace catering, to eradicate any uncertainty and minimise risks post COVID-19 to their employees, upon a return to work (whatever that may look like).
  • Caring, passionate, experienced and driven men and women have continued to innovate, apply fresh and forward-thinking, app-savvy and smart technologies, progress robust health and safety practices and focus their efforts too to deliver a new kind of foodservice to a nation that needed robust reassurances at their workplaces. 

Context

  • On Monday 1st June 2020 across England, our nation started having outside “meetings” in groups of up to six people, from different households, in parks or gardens, and even around barbecues, staying alert and remaining 2m (6ft) apart.
  • The relaxation of “the rules”, to enable us to socialise around food, elicited a silent yet excited whisper of a cheer the length and breadth of the UK. Why? We humans missed our nearest and dearest and craved human contact, after 3 months of homes, masks and gloves.
  • It was inevitable that UK confidence would rise as a result of increasing relaxed measures resulting in increased human interaction and we felt it would be a matter of time before we all felt safer and ready to return to the workplace.
  • Given that we’d been listening to inspirational story after story, from caterer after caterer, hearing of how tirelessly the foodservice providers in my network had been collaborating with corporate clients in the workplace, we took to asking them to reassure the corporate world of the safer, healthier foodservices available post Covid-19.
  • In no more that 33 words (the length of Winston Churchill’s confidence-rousing “We shall fight on the beaches” speech), we asked the 35 caterers we knew, to issue a a single purposeful message to the corporate world, encapsulating their plans to return to work. The infographic above presented the confident, strong and reassuring responses of our catering collective.

Conclusion

Our foodservice providers have been collaborating and working hard, these last three months, on everything around: supporting communities, key workers, businesses and their people, trying to set the tone and shape what no one knew what the “new normal” would look like, stayed connected, strong and positive, embraced ethics, stuck to core values, built compassion and momentum, provided tasting healthy food throughout the pandemic and safe food provisions around COVID-19 compliant guidelines, flexible, innovative, healthy, nutritious immune-boosting meals, improved employee wellbeing, limited risk, redesigned systems to suit client environments, created controlled client-safe buildings and environments – kept staff and customers safe, embraced one way restaurants, workflows, operating procedures, social distancing and new technology, app ordering, contactless collection – defined stronger relationships/partnerships with clients and suppliers, adapted business models and became ready for whatever comes next, the “new normal”. For contract caterers in the workplace, it’s about giving people confidence in using catering facilities once again.

Despite challenging circumstances, foodservice providers have worked relentlessly to make the amazing happen, with no precedent behind them and no clear indication of the way ahead.

With unsettling, turbulent times behind us and return-to-work timelines remaining uncertain, with companies and sectors operating under different timelines, there is certainly a feeling of the UK wanting to return to a different kind of workplace.

With this said, the corporate client – anticipating their workforce’s return – should be reassured that there is a new breed of contract caterer waiting to hold their hands (using the correct PPE) with an inspirational, can-do attitude and expertise and a flexible approach to shape their world of contract catering post COVID-19, to facilitate both the UK’s physical and economic recovery.

#foodservice #foodservices #contractcatering #contractcaterers#workplacecatering #facilities #facilitiesmanagement #facilitiesmanagers#iwfm #ioh

If you are a corporate client organisation with a workplace staff restaurant that needs to open again soon and need some fresh, forward-thinking, app-savvy, sustainability-focused assistance, contact us to project manage your catering consultancy needs.

TRACEY FAIRCLOUGH | Consultant & Managing Director

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