Ditch the Office Kitchen: Save Time and Money – Here's How
Office catering

Ditch the Office Kitchen: Save Time and Money – Here's How

On 14 May 2024 by Fooditude

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On-site kitchens in workplaces have been an asset to a thriving office; allowing companies to provide their teams with freshly cooked meals and a food programme completely tailored to their staff’s needs. 

Traditionally, an on-site kitchen has been the way to go if you want to feed your teams while avoiding the unreliability of delivered food aggregators. However, on-site kitchens have always had their downsides: 

  • On-site kitchens occupy valuable space within central offices, where real estate is expensive.

  • Managing an on-site kitchen is labour intensive

  • Inefficiencies of underused kitchens on days hybrid workers decide to skip the office are becoming hard to ignore

It’s time for a change! 

But before we delve into the solutions of providing teams with good food without an on-site kitchen (hint: it's delivered-in catering), here are the issues that often face workplaces in running an on-site kitchen:


The cost-inefficiencies of an on-site kitchen:

Running and maintaining an in-house kitchen can be expensive. It's the office facilities equivalent of building a heated swimming pool in your garden: it seemed like a great idea at the time (until the utility bills started rolling in). 

The costs of an on-site kitchen rack up fast, just take a moment to consider the cost of equipment, maintenance, supplies, and the HR element of hiring staff to prepare and serve food. Ouch!



Hybrid workers vs. inflexible on-site kitchens 

Contract catering kitchens are often underutilised, with staff coming into the office an average of 2.3 days a week. Whilst they might have been justified when 'a full house' was the golden standard of office life, the hybrid working revolution has created a void where on-site kitchens are not used to their total capacity. 

Headcount continues to be a headache for workplaces wanting to feed their teams. When we asked business leaders and workplace professionals, "Why doesn't your workplace offer free food?" Just under a third of the participants voted that "It's too hard to predict when people will be at work" as their top reason

Office and facilities managers often find themselves in a predicament where:

They would like to use good food as an incentive to attract employees to join their colleagues in the office more often 

There are still days with low office headcount, meaning that they are getting poor value from their on-site kitchen and hospitality staff

This issue underscores the need for flexible and adaptive solutions to find a more efficient catering alternative and enhance employee engagement.


Taking up limited space within prime real estate 

Companies are paying by the square metre for their workplaces, often for commercial space in central locations, where real estate is at its priciest.

In today's financial landscape, space is money. When paying full price for renting a workspace, it should be optimised to support the team's wellbeing, collaboration, and productivity. 

When you remove your on-site kitchen; the space can be better used for a larger dining area, breakout spaces, or meeting rooms—whatever is most pressing for that individual business and its company culture. 

For companies that aspire to champion their employee wellness, traditional 'on-site' catering offers foodservice at the expense of less room for employees to collaborate and engage. This situation is especially counter-productive, as the modern office space becomes increasingly focused on getting teams to collaborate.




How much can you save by ditching the kitchen? Check out these statistics from one of our Soho-based clients:

  • Headcount: 500
  • Kitchen space needed if cooking on-site: 3000sq'
  • Kitchen set-up cost: £500k
  • Real estate cost @£97.50/sq ft: £292.5k/pa
  • Labour cost for 5 chefs:  £200k/pa

With our service, this client was able to:

  1. Save nearly £500k in kitchen fitting costs
  2. Reduce real estate footprint & optimise their office space
  3. Eliminate the need for chefs on-site, reducing labour costs by £200k/pa
  4. Offer the same service as an on-site canteen with a front-of-house team.


The delivered-in catering alternative

The modern workplace can have its cake and eat it too. By opting for delivered-in catering, workplaces find freedom, flexibility, and additional finance. 

Delivered-in catering means that all the food is cooked off-site, delivered, and served within the workplace canteen. There are multiple benefits that this unique catering model offers companies: 

  • Freedom: You can enjoy freedom from lengthy contracts and the challenges of maintaining an on-site kitchen while receiving high-quality food. With this food service model, facilities and office managers can step away from kitchen-related matters, as all food production occurs in a centralised off-site kitchen. Because the caterer is not tied down to running and staffing an on-site kitchen, they provide contracts that can be scaled up or down to meet your changing requirements.

  • Flexibility: Delivered contract catering offers super flexible solutions for feeding your teams. A skilled operations team works closely with clients to set meal orders according to office attendance predictions. The added benefit of a large central production kitchen is that the caterer can provide even more variety and scope in the food programme, so no taste buds are left dissatisfied
  • Additional Finance: When you choose delivered catering, you eliminate the expenses of maintaining an on-site kitchen. Workplaces only pay for the specific food and services they require rather than dealing with the costs of maintaining an under-used kitchen, overstaffing, and paying rent for the kitchen area. It's like magic!

It's a wrap!

The innovation of delivered catering means that offices no longer need to deal with the hassle and costs of maintaining an on-site kitchen. This provides workplaces with more opportunities to benefit from 'opting out'. Whether it's the extra space for collaboration or the additional time and energy that office and facilities managers gain from not dealing with kitchen issues, companies can take advantage of a more flexible way of feeding their teams. 

No kitchen allows workplace professionals to focus on shaping an awesome environment for their teams to work.


Role of Food in the Workplace Edition 2

Discover what today’s business leaders and office and facilities managers think about role of food in the workplace, with our downloadable E-book ‘The Role of Food in the Workplace': 

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