For quite some time now, food has been used as a method of incentive and rewards for employees across the country. It’s a simple idea that can have a powerful impact on the morale and effectiveness of a workplace. When employees get a complimentary lunch they feel appreciated and valued and as their morale goes up, so does their productivity and quality of work. You remove that question of, “What am I going to have for lunch today?” which can keep them focused on their tasks and assignments. With the fear of COVID, all of that has changed. While food is still a powerful motivator, companies are struggling to find ways to feed their employees safely.
As one of Arizona’s top catering companies, Fat Freddy’s Catering is uniquely qualified to provide solutions to these very problems. We have been practicing safe food handling for over 25 years and while the situation has changed dramatically, the overarching principles have not. By eliminating customer touchpoints during the serving process, we mitigate the possibility of spreading bacteria throughout a buffet line. Here are our solutions for how your company can continue providing food to your employees and keep that morale and effectiveness high. (We even have a couple for the people working from home)
Hot or Cold Boxed Lunches
What better way to remove customer touchpoints than to eliminate them altogether? This is currently the most popular way to provide food to employees. These aren’t your normal boxed lunches either. They can be anything off of our menu and depending on the size of your party, multiple entrees can be provided. Each meal is individually packed so your employees can just grab it and go. These delicious packages can be delivered hot and ready to eat or cold in microwave safe containers.
Utilize Fat Freddy's Catering Staff to Serve
The biggest appeal for buffets is their effectiveness at serving large numbers of people and its ability to provide a variety of options to eat. Boxed lunches can be very efficient, but providing a variety of meals can be a lot more work. Using Fat Freddy’s Catering staff to serve each item to your employees eliminates the transfer of bacteria from serving utensil to serving utensil and still provides a variety of options. Plus, you get to keep the leftovers.
Use Managers to Serve
*See above* Seriously though, if you want to save money on the labor charges from using Fat Freddy’s Catering staff, utilize your managers or any other employees to serve the food. It can improve morale and strengthen the bond between manager – employee. They’ll be provided gloves and masks as well as coached and monitored by Fat Freddy’s staff for appropriate portion control.
Supply Hand Sanitizer at the Front of the Buffet
This is a simple yet effective way to ensure bacteria never gets to the serving utensils or on the buffet. It actually stems from one of our employees who went to Universal Studios in Florida. Before getting on any ride, they had an employee squirt a small amount of hand sanitizer in your hand and watch you to make sure you spread it around properly. Simple and effective.
Provide a Glove to Your Employees
Yes, you read that right, a single glove is really all that is needed. They’ll put it on whatever hand they are going to serve themselves with and take it off at the end of the line. Fat Freddy’s Catering can provide the gloves at a small charge and monitor the buffet to ensure everyone is following instructions. While we do recommend the Michael Jackson method to limit waste, we can provide a full set of gloves to every employee if you prefer that.
Well now we’re just getting fancy. Typically this set up would run into problems when trying to maintain any sort of social distancing requirements. However, your employees are eating somewhere and Fat Freddy’s Catering will serve them there. Do they eat at their desks, breakrooms, or patio? We’ll push a cart around with freshly plated meals and hand deliver each one to your employees. We are caterers after all, our job is to serve you.
Serving Utensils for All
Do you have 500 employees? Well, we have 500 spoons they can use to serve themselves. A bin at the end of the buffet will be used to collect the spoons where they will be returned to Fat Freddy’s Catering, cleaned and sanitized for future use. You’re probably thinking that this is a crazy idea, but since we are re-using the spoons, there is actually less waste than handing out gloves to all of your employees.
Employees working from home? No problem!
There are enough distractions for your employees working from home. They’re sitting mere feet away from the spot they relax in after a full day of work. They might have dogs or cats constantly asking for attention or kids running around in the living room ignoring their teacher on Zoom. Then, when it’s time for lunch they inevitably do what we all got yelled at as kids doing. Staring into the fridge trying to figure out what they want to eat. Why not provide your employees with a healthy and well balanced meal to keep their energy up and maintain their focus. Here’s a couple ways Fat Freddy’s Catering can help with that.
Deliver Meals Direct
We will help you create a variety of 10 meals to be delivered to each of your employees homes. They will be cold and in microwave safe containers and can easily be stored in the freezer or remain in the fridge safely for 7 days. Depending on the number of employees, we will work with you on a 1 or 2 day delivery schedule. No more standing in front of the fridge or eating processed food for lunch.
Employees Pickup the Food
We will work with you to create a set of 5 or more options for your employees. We do offer a couple options for pick-up. They are more than welcome to swing by our kitchen and pick up their box, but we understand that you may be on the opposite side of town. If that’s the case, we can set up a drive through pickup line at your office or facility where all of your employees can grab their boxed lunches and go. Weekend or weekday, the choice is yours.
Additional Safety Tactics
The above methods of providing food to your employees revolve around preventing the spread of bacteria across the buffet. There is still the issue of the crowds of people going to a single location. Well guess what, we have solutions for that too. Here are our methods to maintaining social distancing. (besides just telling people to stay 6 feet apart)
Stagger Eat Times to Avoid Crowds
A steady stream of people over a longer period of time can do wonders at keeping the crowd to a minimum. Break your employees into groups and send them a quick email with their meal time. Typically, we can keep food in chaffers for a maximum of 2 hours, so if the buffet opens at 11:00 AM, we can serve food all the way until 1:00 PM. We can extend that time by having a second delivery of food brought to the site, a third delivery can extend it even further.
Set Up the Buffet Outside
Setting up the buffet outside ensures ample space for everyone to maintain social distancing requirements. Set up a breakfast buffet to catch people heading into work or a lunch buffet in the parking lot for a breath of fresh air and a bite to eat.
Use Buffet Stations
Fajita bar in the corner, italian pastas in the hallway, and chinese food in the breakroom? What’s not to love? Take it a step farther with on site chefs making custom orders for lunch and a show. Spread out the stations so people have ample room to move around and maintain distance. This is a great way to try different things and let us show off our variety of food.
Similar to buffet stations, we would set up multiple identical buffets in a variety of locations to help control crowds. This is the more typical way to feed a large number of people quickly. Combining this with staggering eat times is the most popular way of controlling the crowds around buffets.
We take the health and safety of our employees, you, and your guests very seriously. Temperature checks are required by our employees before entering our kitchen and gloves and masks are worn by our serving staff. While the buffet is open our servers will periodically wipe down touchpoints with an antibacterial wipe and monitor your event to ensure compliance with any requirements the Maricopa County Health Department and your company wants set in place. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us directly. We will work together to find solutions to nearly anything. After all, when you work with a local family owned business like Fat Freddy’s Catering, you’re our family too.