Offering company-subsidized meal programs is a fairly common work benefit among top-performing companies in the Bay Area, and for good reason. Corporate meal programs have been proven to provide a number of outcomes that drive business success, including higher employee satisfaction, engagement at work, and average retention, as well as higher productivity and efficiency. However, as many companies can attest, food programs that start small quickly scale as a company grows, and with that expansion comes corresponding growth in risk. 

Has your company ever stopped to consider some of the risk that is associated with large-scale food service for employees? Key questions around food safety quickly surface, and the larger the volume of people served, the greater the potential impact of those risks. All raw materials (food, water, and other supplementary meal prep items) carry risk of contamination before they even reach the site of food production; after arrival, improper preparation, storage, transportation, labeling and service can further elevate the risk of an employee (or employees) getting sick. This risk of illness carries corresponding risk of financial responsibility and a serious disruption to productivity and workflow.

 

With this in mind, what are some key questions you should be asking about your food program and service provider?

If your company has a staff member or team that has official training in food management, they are likely already aware of and closely monitoring these considerations. However, even if your company doesn’t have a team with experience in this area, there are several basic questions that company management can ask in order to ensure that your employees are eating food that can be trusted, including:

– What food safety protocols does my service provider practice? How do they train their staff? Do they have minimum food safety requirements?

– Where does my provider source their food from?

– How does my provider prepare and store the food? Is the food safely transported according to appropriate health codes?

– How does my provider communicate any problems that arise? Can I trust them to be transparent?

– How rigid is my provider with dietary labeling and allergens? Do they understand the risk that contamination carries?

 

Knowing that food service programs carry such risk, what can a company do? 

As it turns out, there are a number of strategies a company can employ to mitigate food risk and liability and ensure that your food service is in the hands of a trusted provider. In addition to a provider’s ability to answer the questions above, look closely at a provider’s operational experience. Do they have experience serving large groups? What volume of guests are they accustomed to serving? What type of kitchen and equipment do they use, and is it properly certified?

In addition to their operational experience, look at their supply chain and workflow. Which aspects of their supply chain do they control? Do they cook their food in house? If they use a third-party provider, what precautions do they take to validate the safety of the food their partners prepare and serve? Lastly, how do they communicate and address these issues with you? Food safety is no joke when it can impact the health and wellbeing of your employees, your office, and your business, and you want to be sure that you’re working with a provider who you can trust to take this as seriously as you do.

 

At Off the Grid, we take great pride in our ability to deliver food that has been safely sourced, prepped, stored, and transferred. Learn more about our program and how we can work with you to implement a corporate food program that minimizes risk and maximizes the safety of your employees.