Corporate catering has witnessed a significant transformation in recent years. As some companies have undergone substantial restructuring activities, in-house food preparation and serving have almost become non-existent in the overall corporate culture. At the same time, many tech service firms - who once treated such activities as nothing more than an inconvenience that was required - have now initiated the usage of food service as a lucrative perk and a differentiating factor to entice prospects and, in the process, have re-casted the so-called “necessary evil” into a coveted perk. Silicon Valley’s leading corporations are the trendsetters in this new culture, and Indian companies have promptly followed suit by engaging in partnerships with prominent catering and food service companies and setting up cafeterias and hosting food pop-up events.
Here we discuss some key trends that are driving this aspect of the food service industry:
With Gen Y, or the millennial generation entering workforces of many companies, they are bringing with them the passion and interest for food they exhibited during their college and/or university days - from wanting to know everything about the food supply chain - the farm-to-fork process - to demanding high quality and authentic food options. Thanks to the widespread reach and usage of social media as a knowledge-sharing platform and as an initiator for conversations - whether it is worry over a bacterial contamination at a popular quick-serve chain restaurant or a viral video over animal treatment or the CSR initiative taken up by the food service companies - consumers are highly focused on food safety and food origins. There is an enhanced demand for product information in order to make informed purchase decisions. Brand loyalty is no longer decided through the marketing prowess of brands; consumer expectations for product information, delivered instantly via digital channels, are now the driving force behind the creation of a new dynamic combination of trust, convenience and long-term value.
Consumers are also aware of and want to support social causes and want to ensure that the products they buy are supportive of the right causes.
At Tuck Stand, we believe in showcasing the highest levels of transparency to our customers. Because we perceive food and trust to be two things that should go hand in hand, without any compromises. That is why we ensure that our partners adhere to high standards of food transparency, by closely working with them to guarantee high levels of transparency across all aspects of the food supply chain, in an effort to ensure that our customers get nothing less than quality, authentic food when they reach out to us. We also openly interact and discuss with our customers at each step along the way. It is this trust in our brand that enables us to get to work with more and more customers out there.
2. Health and Wellbeing
These days, there is an increasing trend in the corporate world, concerning health and wellness. More and more companies are taking steps to promote the importance and necessity of maintaining overall health, among their employees, seeing that wellness initiatives improve productivity and reduce healthcare costs. They want to cut down on unhealthy foods, and are looking towards wholesome food options that are fresh, local and clean. They want gluten-free items, more veggie varieties and cooking methods like roasted vegetables and more grain dishes.
The close, unique relationship we share with our partners has ensured that we work closely with their chefs to come up with a variety of options that are tasty and delicious, while being healthy and promoting wellness at the same time. Such options are exclusively available through our platform only; our partners have not incorporated such options into their commercial menus generally available.
This way, we also look to cater to customers who only want the best for their employees.
Eating + Entertainment
Most of our customers choose our pop-up model because of the incredible convenience and flexibility it offers to their employees (read more about the benefits of having a pop-up in this article), and specifically request that chefs from our partners come down and prepare the dishes live. This enables them to see the individual ingredients and their freshness. Another aspect is that it lets the employees customize the items. Being able to tweak something to their own personal taste preferences is an added perk for most employees.
With employees becoming extremely busy due to increasing work pressures and strict deadlines that are required to be adhered to, they don’t always have the time to sit down for meals, although they may be willing to wait for foods that are prepared fresh. Hence, the demand for portable foods - that can be consumed on-the-fly - has quickly picked up with such customers.
Most of our partners’ offer grab-and-go-type items, like muffins, quiches, cheesecakes and cookies. They also offer a variety of nutritious packaged foods like rajma chawal and salad bowls, for those employees who want a quick snack or a meal to take back to their desks.
If you would like to contribute to this discussion, please let us know your thoughts, opinions and suggestions in the comments section below!