In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- Google says it’s reduced food waste just by using different bowls
Before the pandemic forced its employees to work from home, Google tested a simple intervention to reduce food waste in one of its cafes: using bowls that were an inch less deep. “That unconsciously led to people taking a little less food—30 to 50% less—and that actually downstream led to 30-70% less waste,” says Emily Ma, head of Google’s “Food for Good” program. It's part of a larger food waste and loss reduction program at the company, noted Michiel Bakker, vice president of global programs, real estate and workplace services for the company, in a recent blog post. "By 2025, we aim to cut food waste in half for each Googler and send zero food waste to the landfill," he wrote. "To do so, we’ll prevent waste during food sourcing and procurement, improve our kitchens and cafes, and make sure excess food is repurposed or disposed of properly."
- Work-from-home impacting hospitality worker availability
According to a new Brookings Institution report, the shift to flexible work-from-home schedules is having a real impact on tech job geography, from major hubs like California's Silicon Valley to what it terms “Zoom towns” such as Cincinnati, Minneapolis and San Antonio, where the cost of living is lower and where remote workers took up residence during the pandemic. One impact of this shift is that cities with large work-from-home populations—like most major tech hubs—have rebounded slowest from the pandemic’s initial drop-off in job postings, especially in hospitality industry as offices are closed and bars and restaurants in business districts struggle to find customers. What that means for onsite dining operations in such markets is that, potentially, there is a larger pool of experienced hospitality workers available to them to fill staff positions if they can offer the right compensation package...
...and, speaking of compensation packages...
- Workers ready to return…if the money is there…
The quit rate for workers in the leisure and hospitality industry, historically one of the lowest paying sectors in the U.S. economy, was 5.6% in January 2022, up significantly from the last pre-pandemic rate of 3.9% in February 2020. However, hiring has increased as employers, even in historically low-wage industries, are upping compensation. In February, hiring was strong as wages stabilized, suggesting that the average hourly wage growth of 5.1% year-over-year is luring workers back.
- Meta trims free dinner perk
Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, appears to be slimming its famously expansive employee perks down as more staffers prepare to return to the office beginning March 28. The reductions reportedly include cutting the free on-site laundry service perk and pushing back dinnertime in the cafeteria from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., which means that those using Meta's free shuttle service won't be able to take advantage of the free dinner, as the shuttle leaves campus at 6 p.m. However, member of Meta's food service defended the change, noting that employees sometimes exploit the offer of free food by loading up takeaway boxes.
- Medical center donates food bags to local elementary school students
On March 11, University Medical Center (UMC) in Texas supplied 120 food bags to students at Brown Elementary in the Lubbock ISD as part of a sponsorship program UMC has engaged in since 2008 with Brown Elementary, where almost 97% of the students live in poverty. As part of the program, each year UMC employees donate money or items for food bags so that each child receives peanut butter, jelly, a box of Capri-Sun drinks, Vienna sausage, Christmas treats, breakfast cereal, snack items, fruit cups, chips and other miscellaneous food items.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]