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:
- Big tech firms start dumping office space
The big technology companies that drove U.S. office demand for years are now canceling leases and flooding business districts with office space as they downsize. Facebook owner Meta Platforms, Inc., Lyft Inc., Salesforce.com Inc. and other tech companies are shedding millions of square feet of office space in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, Austin and elsewhere, while Amazon.com Inc. stopped construction in July on new office buildings amid a hiring freeze and is now preparing to lay off thousands of workers. The development threatens what had been a lucrative niche of the corporate dining market.
Read more: Meta, Lyft, Salesforce and Other Tech Firms Dump Office Space as They Downsize
- Kforce moves into new—much smaller—headquarters
One concrete example of the office space reduction phenomenon noted in the previous item is Kforce Inc., which recently opened its new corporate headquarters in a new 22,232-sq.ft. office in Tampa that is 82% smaller than the company’s previous 130,000-sq.ft. campus several miles away. The 22-acre, $500 million Midtown Tampa development where the new headquarters is located is made up of offices, apartments, hotels, restaurants and retailers REI and Whole Foods, giving both employees stopping by and visiting clients places to eat, drink, meet and spend the night without really having to leave the property. It also means the company doesn’t need the extra amenities to attract talent and entertain that require space, upkeep and money. Rather than a café, it can get by with a cafeteria with vending machines.
Read more: $1.5 billion firm’s new HQ is 80% smaller than its old space
- Investment group pushes for more plant-based hospital meals
The boards of directors for major American healthcare companies Centene, Elevance Health, HCA Healthcare, Molina Healthcare and United Health Group have been sent shareholder proposals from proxy-holders of U.S. Climate Vegan ETF, an exchange-traded fund from the vegan investment firm Beyond Investing that asks them to add plant-free food options in their hospital cafeterias and vending machines, as well as for every meal served to inpatients. A press release from Beyond Investing states that their firm hopes “these proposals will be included in the proxy statements that these companies will circulate to shareholders in anticipation of their 2023 annual meetings.”
Read more: Vegan ESG Investors Want Plant-Based Food Options in America’s Hospitals
- University’s dining halls shut some stations due to lack of staff
Food stations in the dining halls around the University of West Georgia (UWG) campus have been shutting down because of understaffing due to a lack of applicants for full time positions and for student assistants, says Joey Moncayo, director of campus dining. Additionally, UWG experienced a decline in full-time dining employees after shutting down dining halls for the pandemic even though they were still getting paid despite not working.
Read more: Lack of Staff in UWG Dining
- CIA interns to work in Binghamton University dining halls
Binghamton University has been approved by The Culinary Institute of America to be an externship site for aspiring chefs. With the externship approval, new interns will work in the university dining halls each semester to learn about high-volume food production. According to Charles Williams, campus executive chef for Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS), the purpose of the externship is to “help BUDS improve the quality of the meals [they] serve on campus.”
Read more: BU partners with Culinary Institute of America for externship program
Bonus: Top 10 food service menu trend stories of 2022
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]