28th Mar 2022

Why your workplace canteen needs to embrace international cuisine

London: it’s a city where you’re spoilt for choice. Want Korean Fried Chicken delivered to your door in the middle of the night? No problem. Can you get sega wat stew with injera bread? Absolutely. And if you’re craving for a Philly cheesesteak sandwich served in a bánh mì bun – the city will provide you with one.

So why does London’s food scene stop dead at the doors of workplaces? Office catering gets a bad rep – no wonder!  Boring Caesar salads or dry ham and cheese sandwiches have been staple lunches for many a veteran office worker. Until now, most workplace caterers have utterly failed in feeding employees with inspiring, tasty meals.

Yet, since the rapid adoption of hybrid working, employees have discovered that working from home means tastier (homemade) food. Bland office canteen meals feel obsolete in a world focused on employee wellness. Now more than ever caterers need to pick up the pace and offer irresistible international cuisine in the workplace.

A good catering team should be inspired by their travel experiences, cookbooks and the London food scene.  Afterall, food cultures never stay the same and are constantly evolving. Caterers should be providing international cuisine that gives employees a real taste of what’s cooking around the world today.

 

So, what’s the benefit of serving international cuisine?

 

  • Bring the inspiration to the office canteen

    World inspired menus create an atmosphere of excitement to your workplace. Hybrid working is all about breaking the monotony of the working week and making ‘going into the office’ an exciting prospect.

    Serve a menu that gets people talking and soon employees will be savouring their office days. A tasty meal brings the feel-good factor, setting the scene for better engagement between employees at the lunch table.

    As contract caterers, we’ve seen how mind-blowing international food creates a buzz throughout the office. A few months ago we ran a Vietnamese Bun Cha pop up at a client site. Employees were curious about the food, sat in larger groups than usual and there was a high turnout in the office. Because we served a world dish that was enticing to employees, we were able to transform our clients’ canteen into a hub of activity.

 

  • Bridge the cultural gap between colleagues

    Whilst we spend a lot of time with our colleagues, it’s easy to forget that we don’t know them outside the office bubble. It pays to close the social gap and for your team to get to know each other. With stronger social bonds, your team will be happier, less stressed and better engaged at work.

    It’s no secret that most people enjoy food, whether that involves cooking it, eating it or critiquing it. By serving a menu that switches up recipes from around the world, employees have the perfect icebreaker to connect with teammates.

    Serving international cuisine strikes up conversations about travel, cooking and world culture. With a little help from dim sum, empanadas and arancini; colleagues can find common ground.

 

  • Creates an inclusive atmosphere

    We’ve been serving hungry office workers with meals since 2005. During that time, we’ve seen how our international menus set the scene for more inclusive workplace environments.

     

  • They help celebrate diverse team cultures

    London is an international hub for thousands of companies that operate globally, powered by multinational workforces. London office canteens need to be just as diverse as the people they serve. Afterall, whichever country your employees grew up in, the menu should offer food that tastes just like home.

 

  • A way of marking important celebrations from around the world

    Every world celebration under the sun is characterised by the food that’s served alongside it: think potato latkes during the Festival of Lights or Pickled Herring during Midsommer. For those that are working abroad in London, it can be a real downer working on their celebration days that aren’t widely celebrated in the UK.

    Add a personal touch to your office by serving food that marks important international occasions throughout the year. It can make a real difference to those employees who want to celebrate. A few years ago, one of our clients had a large group of American employees who felt homesick on Thanksgiving. To make their day at work feel special, we cooked up a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. It went down a treat and we received excellent and heart-felt feedback from the client. Since then, our Thanksgiving lunches have become one of the highlights of their year (pandemic restrictions permitting).

 

It’s a wrap!

Serving international cuisine in the workplace should challenge, surprise and excite employees. Workplace caterers shouldn’t take shortcuts when providing international dishes: cooking chicken in a jerk sauce with peas and rice doesn’t make it ‘authentic caribbean cuisine’.

London employees know their food very well. They’ll sniff out inauthentic food in a heartbeat, so your caterers should take no shortcuts in recipe development and in the cooking process. It matters when choosing a caterer that cooks meals from scratch, with a proper passion for food.

International cuisine served in your workplace can propel your company culture forward. With a whole world of dishes on the menu, there’s an element of pleasant surprise for employees to look forward to. Exciting world recipes will provoke the curiosity of your teams, creating the big question throughout the office of ‘What’s next?’.

 

 

How can Fooditude transform your team meeting?

Not to brag, but we’ve been perfecting delivered catering since 2005. Over the years, we’ve served some of London’s most exciting workplaces, with menus that never stop bringing new exciting flavours and tastes. Find out more >

Published by James Ricketts

Fooditude