By Paul Hearne, Executive Director, Express Vending
In a world dominated by smart technology, the Internet of Things devices, and automation, it should come as little surprise businesses are adopting new technology to improve their processes and competitiveness. Digital transformation is rapidly changing the workplace catering environment through various technologies.
In this article, I’ll discuss new catering technology and how it can assist facilities managers in creating an excellent workplace environment with plenty of offerings.
Convenience and automation
There has been a gradual rise in companies introducing mobile apps to enhance the workplace catering experience. Many are now creating branded apps, which allow for two-way communication between staff and internal catering. Employees can access important catering information at any time (for example, the daily menu), while the catering team can use the application to get in touch with employees at the right moment with important notifications, updates, offers, and order alerts.
Digital apps can be useful as they speed up movements around work premises during peak hours; employees can order food in advance, without having to queue at catering stations. This facilitates faster and more efficient service. Among other advantages, digital orders also reduce the margin of errors when orders are taken and improve customer service time, with employees able to collect any food or drink options within a few minutes of placing their orders.
Meeting regulation standards
With new regulations and protocols entering the industry, digital solutions can standardise common food safety procedures for facilities managers. Everyday compliance tasks, like product logging, and temperature checks are both tedious and time-consuming. However, advanced food safety systems can automate certain tasks or provide digital management tools which monitor food compliance tasks from a mobile or computer application.
A digital food safety solution can also establish a transparent view of a product’s lifecycle. For example, smart fridges automatically lock when a product is out of life, meaning employees won’t be served anything that is past its sell-by date.
Transparent data and remaining COVID-secure
Facilities managers can look at internal data, produced through the technologies being used (e.g.: a mobile app) to analyse important information and gain useful insights into customer behaviour, purchasing habits and trends. Facilities managers not only get to know their employees’ food and drink choices better, but this information also assists with an array of other tasks including, purchasing decisions, menu creation and which product lines should be discontinued.
Companies now prioritise safety and efficiency more, in a post-COVID world. As a business, we’ve seen a huge uptake in COVID-secure offerings, in particular from clients in the manufacturing and logistics sectors, whose places of work had to remain open during the global pandemic.
Prioritising safety and efficiency, we believe distance selection technology, and smart fridges will become commonplace in our new flexible working world. For example, distance selection coffee machines are designed to give employees touch-free access to their favourite refreshments. The intuitive design replicates a traditional coffee machine, replacing mechanical pushbuttons with hygienic, touch-free selection technology. Employees can select their drinks by hovering their fingers over the screen – up to 2 centimetres away – so, it’s a completely contact-free way to choose your refreshments.
Distance selection technology means staff can continue to make the most of their lunchtime and breaks, enjoying delicious drinks with the peace of mind of staying safe against the spread of viruses and bacteria.