Catering for the public sector is all about providing balanced, nutritious and varied food, ensuring mealtimes are a pleasure for consumers including patients in healthcare facilities as well as children and younger adults in schools and universities. However, following COVID-19, it is important now more than ever that caterers stay ahead of their game and create a good impression for customers, not only through their food offering.
Impressions count for everything. Whether your consumer is a patient or staff member visiting your catering operation in a healthcare setting or even a staff member grabbing a coffee from their workplace cafe or deli, each and every one of your customers demand satisfaction the minute they walk through your door. As operators, it is your role to satisfy all of these demands.
A few suggestions on setting the right impression within education, healthcare and workplace settings.
Creating the right kind of environment is key. Is it fun and interactive? Take a step back and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Look at where children are having their mealtimes and their surroundings. Is it the best it could be? Think carefully about the use of colour in canteens. Why not go for bold, vibrant colours to reflect the bright serving dishes you have on your menu? Live theatre kitchens also work well to enhance the overall dining experience.
Ensure your catering team are really expanding their efforts to aid health and safety. Insist on strict cleaning procedures and make sure cleanliness and food safety is at the very top of your priority list as this is a bigger issue now for consumers than it ever has been.
Particularly workplace settings offering a more ‘premium’ experience, remember to make an impression with the way in which your establishment is presented. The decor and ambience set the tone, but also think about any outside hanging baskets and furniture, as well as lighting and music that you play. It all adds to the experience and creates that first impression. Take a moment and consider what the customer experience is likely to be with the aesthetics of your business. Workplaces operating a more café or deli-style service must think about how they can adapt to offer a more flexible and inspiring eating space. This can be through its design, food and service.
Here are some other key bits of advice for you to consider.