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A new business model for food consumption

As consumer behaviour changes, how can food services adapt to make sure the workforce has safe access to food? Aramark has made several innovations to its business to remain a frontrunner in the industry

The onset of coronavirus has almost instantly changed consumer behaviour, including when and how we eat. These changes are likely to be long lasting as consumers make more effort to stay healthy and live sustainably. This means food services are faced with a new set of challenges. Many consumers are going online for their food shops and deliveries, which means the traditional model of buying in store and dining is changing.

In response, food services have to be dynamic and innovative to ensure that people still have safe access to food, particularly in the workplace. Aramark has launched four food service innovations to expand essential employee dining options with safe and convenient access to food in their workplaces.

Pop-Up Grocery Stores

A proactive way to support workers is to provide them with on-site access to convenience stores at work. Across the US, Aramark teams have transformed many retail spaces into pop-up grocery stores to provide essential employees with a safe and convenient way to purchase necessities, such as meal options and household products.

Aramark’s first turnkey pop-up, Provisions on Demand, convenience store opened in March at a New Orleans hospital. By the end of April, over 100 pop-up stores were operating on-site at businesses, healthcare organisations and higher education campuses. The stores’ inventory includes a selection of milk, eggs, bread, frozen meals, canned goods and paper products.

Allowing essential workers and frontline employees to shop within their own workplaces gives them convenient access to essential groceries, and saves them the time and health risks of stopping at traditional grocery stores.

Grab-n-Go and Take-Home Options

Many people want to follow guidelines and limit physical interactions with others to stay safe, including while purchasing food. But they often find their options are limited. Aramark expanded grab-n-go programs in facilities, including a full offering of hot and cold food items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Items are prepared fresh on-site and are available for guest pick-up in cafés.

People can also order full hot-and-ready meals to take home and enjoy. Each meal kit is ready to be assembled and feeds up to four people. Giving essential employees greater access to prepared food ensures workers and their families have easy and convenient access to nutritious meals without spending valuable time shopping and preparing three meals a day.

Digital Platforms for Pre-Orders and Pick-Ups

Many people want to follow social distancing guidelines and limit their physical interaction with other people, including while ordering food. But they often lack convenient and efficient ways to place orders. Digital platforms for pre-ordering and picking up food allow guests to limit unwanted physical contact with restaurant workers and other guests, while increasing speed and convenience. Aramark has launched digital platforms that let people place orders and pay electronically for meals.

Essential workers and front-line employees have gained safer and more convenient opportunities to access food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks by ordering and paying online. This has resulted in limited physical contact and a better dining experience.

Produce Market Box

More people want a wider variety of healthy dining options than ever before. Unfortunately, the pandemic has further diminished options, which has elevated workers’ frustration. Around the US, many farmers groups are preparing fresh fruit and vegetable boxes for purchase.

Using a diverse distribution network, Aramark is helping distribute the produce boxes to workers at its partners’ locations. Essential workers purchase them in on-site cafés. More front-line employees and essential workers have greater and easier access to a wider assortment of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, giving them an opportunity to meet their preference for healthier dining options.

Read the full article from Aramark innovations here
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