Are there downsides to an office canteen?

Lunch options can seem limited during a hectic day at work, whether you have a repetitive packed lunch or overpriced food from local vendors.

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A canteen dedicated to employees can seem an ideal solution that saves money, time and effort; however, there are a number of negatives to the office canteen.

Employee wellbeing

There are some ways of cooking food that are much worse for our wellbeing than others, with many canteens failing to provide healthy alternatives. According to statistics, 48 per cent of employees in the UK choose to eat in their office canteen as it is convenient. With predictable meal plans and low-quality produce, office canteens do not improve the wellbeing of staff or promote enthusiasm.

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Catering to food allergies

With approximately 44 per cent of adults in the UK suffering from at least one allergy, this is also likely to affect your workforce. A canteen cannot tailor to each and every individual’s dietary requirements, which in turn can increase the risk of an employee eating ingredients they are allergic to.

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Food quality

With the high number of workers that must be catered for, food will often be re-heated and pre-packed. Ensuring that the canteen provides fresh and healthy food promotes the long-term health of workers and will benefit the company in terms of employee satisfaction and retention.

Most office canteens can only offer set menus that provide limited changes each week, which subsequently becomes boring and repetitive for employees and pushes them to seek alternatives elsewhere. This not only diminishes the value in investing in the office canteen but also unhealthy options could become the regular choice as employees search for the alternative hot food they have become used to.

The novelty of an office canteen can eventually wear off and what was once a great workplace perk can become another mundane feature of the working day. It is important to staff that they feel appreciated, which should be reflected in the lunches provided in the office. If high-end businesses offer basic food, this can send out a negative message to guests and employees, who can feel that this demonstrates they are not a priority. If food quality is lacking, this can have a further impact on your business.

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