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8 Ways Food Apps Can Boost Your Workplace Experience

Savvy companies are enhancing their workplace food experience through apps that deliver convenience, customization, and the right information at the right time.

Woman drinking smoothie and looking at phone

2018 Worldwide Mobile Facts:

  • 194 billion app downloads
  • $101 billion in app store spend
  • 3 hours per day spent on mobile devices by the average user
  • 30% higher engagement in non-gaming apps for Gen Z vs. older demographics

Source: State of Mobile 2019 Report

Across the globe, mobile transactions now represent more than 50% of all online transactions. There’s no question that the widespread adoption of mobile devices has caused disruption and fundamentally changed the traditional path to purchase. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the food service industry, where the emergence of online delivery players has exploded in the past few years. 

In the workplace, today’s tech-savvy and time-starved employees expect the same features and experience they’ve come to expect from modern food apps. They want the ability to quickly explore options and gather information, they demand convenience above all else, and they look for apps that allow them to easily customize their food choices. 

Subscribe to Work Reimagined GIFWhile many employees use food apps outside of work, apps specifically designed for the workplace are just emerging. But this is set to change. The modern workforce, especially newer generations, see food as a key differentiator in their search for the right employer. However, a growing number of workers expect their companies to offer more than just great food in inspiring spaces—they want a 360° dining experience supported by best-in-class digital tools and technologies.

So what do food apps offer that make them a must-have for today’s employees?

1.  Food delivery—anytime, anywhere

Workplace food deliveryWorkstyles are evolving, with many employees enjoying flexible hours or the ability to work from different locations. Food apps support this new way of working by offering employees a wide range of delivery options—from food from local restaurants to chef-prepared meals that can be reheated. 

Sodexo has partnered with companies like FoodChéri in France and EAT Club in the U.S. to make it easy for employees to get fresh, high-quality food delivered to their workplace. Having these options can be immensely valuable not only for busy employees, but also for those who work unusual hours or for times when the workplace café is closed.

16% of online food delivery orders are placed from the workplace.

Source: McKinsey, The changing market for food delivery

2.  The right information at the right time 

Whether they’re in the office, at home, or offsite, employees want the ability to precisely plan their day—including meal times. Geo-location supports several features that make this possible. Food delivery apps use this functionality to pinpoint the location of the customer and the delivery person, allowing the app to provide an estimated time of arrival and real-time updates on the order status. 

For apps designed around onsite food services, geo-location can identify an employee’s location and show information about the nearest dining options. When employees work from multiple sites or on a large corporate campus, this means they can quickly and easily find the right menus based on where they are at any given moment. 

3.  Easy-to-access nutritional info, plus integration with tracking tools

Man holding phone with Bite appIt’s not just menus that employees are looking for. According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey Report, over half of U.S. consumers look at nutrition facts or an ingredient list ‘often’ or ‘always’ when making a purchasing decision. Food apps deliver this information with just one tap. 

Some employees are taking their nutrition a step further by using meal-tracking programs to log what they eat. Best-in-class workplace food apps seamlessly sync up with these tools. For example, Sodexo’s Bite app allows users to upload menu items directly into their Fitbit diary. As a growing number of employees strive to make healthier food choices, employers can show their support by providing apps with the tools and information to make this easy. 

4.  Next-level customization

While many people customize their meals based on calories or nutrients, a growing proportion of the population adheres to more rigid dietary restrictions for religious, personal or health reasons. Globally, 11% of people do not eat meat, and 14% consider themselves ‘flexitarians.’ Meanwhile, food allergies affect about 2.5% of the global population. 

For employees with unique diets, it can be challenging to find foods that meet their requirements. But modern food apps make this easy. Customizable menu filters allow users to highlight allergens, vegetarian and vegan dishes, calorie thresholds and more. In the workplace, this adds up to more satisfied employees who feel their individual needs are being considered by their employer.

5.  Engaging, tailored content  

Man sitting on park bench, eating apple and looking at phoneOver 30% of U.S. consumers consider fitness, diet or nutrition apps a trusted source for information about what foods to eat, and over 25% trust health and nutrition bloggers. These numbers are significantly higher among those under 35 years old.

Through food apps, companies can provide tailored content that engages employees and promotes healthy lifestyle changes. For younger generations, this type of content is almost expected—and providing it can help position an organization as an employer-of-choice. From curated stories on wellness and lifestyle, to features on celebrity chefs, contests, and more, apps can contribute to a more immersive workplace food experience. 

6.  Order-ahead and digital payment capabilities 

For most employees, time spent waiting in line or paying for their food is time wasted. In a survey of 1,500 U.S. and UK employees, 58% said they would visit their workplace café at least once more per week if they could access experience-enhancing technologies such as ordering ahead, or if they could make payments via apps, touch-screen kiosks, wearable devices or phone scanning.

Through workplace food apps that offer these capabilities, there is an opportunity for companies to give employees back their most valuable resource—their time. As an example, Sodexo’s Bite+ and Zeta apps offer mobile wallet, payment and pre-ordering, streamlining the dining experience for employees across the globe.

82% of employees would order ahead if it was available. 
48% want to order ahead using an app.
37% would make 2 or more extra visits per week if they could order ahead.

Source: Omnico Corporate Catering Barometer 2019

7.  Personalized loyalty programs 

A well-designed loyalty program can be an important workplace perk, one that drives satisfaction and engagement. Recent research reveals that 70% of U.S. and UK employees would visit their workplace café more frequently if it operated a personalized, multichannel loyalty program. A program offering rewards redeemable against future purchases would deliver an extra two visits per person each week.  

The most popular food apps seamlessly integrate rewards into the user experience. One example is Sodexo’s Bite app, which remembers, recognizes and rewards guests. Bite’s personalized rewards experience is designed to appeal to diverse employee preferences, but with surprises along the way. The program can also be tailored so that it encourages and rewards healthy food choices at work.

8.  Easy-to-use feedback tools that drive real improvement

Business man with coffee, looking at phoneToday’s consumers are accustomed to providing online feedback regarding the products and services they use. The workplace café is no exception, with dining apps allowing employees to give instantaneous feedback about their menu selections and overall dining experience. 

This feedback helps the food service provider improve all aspects of the dining experience—from food quality and variety to service, space design, lines, wait time and more. More importantly, using employee input to enhance these touchpoints shows that an organization is dedicated to creating a workplace that works for its people. 

The future of food at work is digital

A paradigm shift has occurred in the way employees obtain food, whether they’re at home, at work, or on-the-go. The traditional lunch break is increasingly being replaced by time-saving options like food delivery or pre-ordering and pick-up. At the same time, consumer expectations around food are evolving. People are seeking out more information about what they eat, they want the ability to tailor their meals, and they demand access to high-quality food wherever and whenever they want.

Mobile devices are a key enabler for the new food experience being driven by these expectations. In the workplace, employees are looking for apps that offer same features and benefits they enjoy outside of the office—convenience, customization, and the ability to quickly and easily get the information they need. There’s no question that the future of food at work is digital. Employers who embrace this will be one step closer to creating a differentiated workplace experience that attracts and retains the best talent.

Create your digital food experience with Sodexo

No matter where your company is located, Sodexo offers a food app that’s right for your workplace and your people. We’re creating the perfect guest experience for employees across the globe with food apps that include the latest technology, tools and features. Get started today—contact us to learn more about Bite / Bite+, Zeta, and the exciting food delivery apps offered through our partners.

Watch the video below to learn more about Sodexo's Bite app:




November 26, 2019

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