Can Catering Food Help You Boost Workspace Member Engagement?

Workplace community

Food is an important catalyst for bringing people together, kindling conversation, building new connections, and strengthening relationships.

ezCater conducted a study that examined the role of food in the workplace. The conclusion? That food has always had a place in business settings, but that its prominence is starting to grow.

This article is part of our “we’re all about community” series.

The report “Food in the Workplace: Surveying the Impact of Food on Sales, Productivity, and Culture” surveyed 1,025 workers that hold office jobs across the United States.

A Full Stomach Makes a Happy Heart (and successful business)

According to ezCater, “providing food in the workplace positively impacts a number of different areas–from serving as an effective sales tool, to keeping employees engaged and productive, and attracting and retaining top talent.”

Not surprisingly, “workers overwhelmingly recognized that food contributes to positive experiences with customers and prospects.”

Let’s look at some stats from the study:

80% of those surveyed agree that food makes it easier to secure a meeting
61% said that bringing food to a meeting makes it easier to close a deal
76% stated that meetings are better attended when food is provided
66% admitted that they are personally more likely to attend a meeting when food is provided
7% said that it keeps meetings more friendly and conversational
8% of respondents said that having food at work keeps them more focused and productive, and that it also helps keep their energy up
5% said that food in the workplace helps diffuse stress levels
1 in 5 of those surveyed said that if food was offered in the workplace, it would help them eat healthier

What Does This Mean For Coworking and Workspace Operators

In September last year, 2016, ezCater announced the launch of a new Coworking Space Program within their platform, designed to simplify business catering at shared workspaces.

“Food is part of creating that enhanced experience in coworking spaces. It helps create a good environment day to day, or for special events,” David Meiselman, CMO of ezCater, told Allwork during a phone call.

Andy Komack, ezCater’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, mentioned that “part of the genesis of discovering this opportunity (a program specially designed for coworking spaces) is that we saw that a significant number of orders were being taken to coworking spaces by the members.”

Clearly, workspace members want food in the workplace–whether it is being provided to them or provided by them.

Food brings people together. If you or a workspace member bring treats to share, people will gather together and share a bite, even if just for a few short minutes. Food can help create interactions and engagement within members, and when it comes to them hosting work meetings in your space, it can help them close business deals or sign a new client.

Komack believes there is a bigger opportunity with members doing their own individual orders for meetings, though there is also opportunity for workspace managers to order food for workspace events, special occasions, or simply to motivate members on any given day.

Simply put, food can be an easy way to boost member engagement and community involvement. If you bring in treats for your members, this might replicate into members bringing in food or treats to share.

“Treats are a growing segment for us. It’s a very economical way to make an impact and give something to workspace members without spending a lot on a meal.”

Though we’re not saying you should go out and order food every day or even every week, we do believe that  catering food every now and then can greatly contribute to your workspace culture and community. It’s also, or so we can deduce from the stats, a great motivator for members to get involved and attend your events.

One last thought, make sure members know that it’s OK for them to bring in food to share.