5 Reasons Why Boxed Lunch Catering Is Taking Over the Workplace

Boxed lunch catering is gaining popularity as a more inclusive, cost-effective alternative to traditional food perks. Here’s why.
Megan Ballingall

In today’s workplace, employees demand more from their employers, from extensive work perks to a greater say in company decisions. For many, while a competitive salary is a starting point, newer non-negotiables for top talent include feeling valued and a sense of community. 

Boxed lunch catering is becoming an increasingly popular way to foster a positive work environment, while giving your employees input, too. Unlike the traditional platters often offered at lunch meetings, boxed lunches allow you to take care of food for your employees during work hours and offer them the freedom to choose what, when, and from where they order. 

With tech giants, like Google, building their own in-office restaurants, it’s clear that food is a worthwhile investment in crafting a better employee experience.  Opening your own restaurant may be off the table, but boxed lunches are a cost-effective solution for companies of any size to accommodate employees' lunchtime needs while fostering a sense of community in the post-COVID workplace.

Here are 5 reasons why boxed lunches are replacing traditional food platters and in-house buffets as the the food benefit many employers are investing in.

1. Enables Individualized Meals at Scale 

By the year 2025, Gen Z will comprise 27% of the workforce. Employers will require a radically different approach to employee engagement and retention to accommodate this generation’s priorities. 

One recent study found that Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to base purchase decisions on values and principles (personal, social, and environmental). 

While one-size-fits-all food perks may clash with their personal ideals, boxed lunch catering empowers all employees to make their own food choices, allowing them to account for dietary restrictions alongside individual preferences and values. Freedom of choice in food perks is an easy way for employers to stay true to their diversity and inclusion policy.

Customizable boxed lunches make your employees feel valued while also empowering their voices within the workplace.

2. Supports Local Restaurants 

Shopping local is quickly moving from a pandemic trend to a default for Millennials and Gen Z.

A 2021 survey of post-pandemic behavior found that around 51% of Millennials and 46% of Gen Z have purchased more from local businesses, with these numbers only expected to grow in coming years.

By positioning yourself as a company that supports local restaurants, you can show your employees that your values align with theirs, fostering a sense of community within your company.

3. Flexible Pickup Options 

One of the unique aspects of eating lunch with coworkers is the sense of community it fosters. 

One Oxford University study showed that communal eating increases social bonding and feelings of well-being, enhancing one’s sense of contentment and community.

Boxed lunches offer various pickup options, allowing employees to travel together as a group to pick up orders. This experience can help foster a sense of familiarity for employees returning to the office after extended periods of working from home.

With the flexibility of food pick-up or delivery through group orders with a delegated “piggyback”, employees can order in advance, decide together to take a late or early lunch, go for a long walk to get their steps in or a quick bite to make it to a meeting, eat at a park, or bring their meals back to the office.

4. No More Waste

In a workforce dominated by Millennials and Gen Z, there is more emphasis than ever on combatting food waste and climate change.

A study by Second Harvest found that nearly 60% of food in Canada is wasted annually. Traditional buffet-style office catering often contributes to this problem by leaving behind wasted food.

Boxed lunches offer a convenient solution to the problem of wasted food as your orders are customized, allowing employees to order exactly the amount of food they need.

In addition, boxed lunches keep costs low by ensuring you aren’t purchasing more food than necessary. This becomes increasingly important for offices switching to a hybrid model mixing in-person and remote, where lunch demand is harder to predict and results in more wasted food and money.

5. More Sanitary

The importance of personal hygiene and office cleanliness cannot be understated in the modern office. 

A post-COVID report found that around 38% of workers would consider changing jobs if their workplace wasn’t cleaned frequently. In other words, employees are less willing to eat from traditional open buffet catering and food platters where it’s easy for food to fall on the floor, be left behind on tables, and become contaminated when coming into contact with so many people. 

Boxed lunches, on the other hand, maintain a cleaner work environment through food pick-up and packaging, putting less burden on internal cleaning staff and resources.

The Bottom Line

With a rapidly changing workforce, both in terms of age demographics and demands, it is crucial to position yourself as an employer that empowers your employees.

One way to accommodate your employees and ensure they feel valued is through boxed lunch catering. 

Ritual for Companies provides a simple solution for implementing your boxed lunch catering program. It empowers employees to choose customized company-funded meals while ordering together as a group.

Once set up, employees can use the Ritual app to order customizable meals from participating local restaurants. Your company can provide employees with credits that can be used either immediately or at a later date.

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Megan Ballingall
Megan Ballingall