Creating a food bar in your office is a great thing to have for employees. It’s something that can be used to create friendships and help everyone bond together, but it can also improve your office’s productivity. When employees come to work knowing there’ll be food snacks available, it often helps them look forward to their day instead of dread going to work. Here are some things you’ll need to know and think about when making an office food bar.
Pick a Leader
In order to have a great food bar set up at work, you’ll need someone to take care of it. This makes it easier for everyone to know who to go to when something’s wrong, and it helps make sure things are done the right way. The food master could choose to create some type of team if he’s looking for some help but depending on size and how much you’re putting in your bar, you may only need the one person. It really can alleviate a lot of stress, confusion, and frustration putting someone in charge of this station.
While your bar will need several things, it will desperately need the right equipment. What you can and can’t have may be based on the size of your room or what the company will allow, but if at all possible, include a fridge and microwave. These items will give you a lot more flexibility for what you’re able to have in the food bar. You should also have some type of setup for whatever food and other items you’ll have. Baskets, cabinets, and other storage systems will help keep everything in order.
Make It Organized
No matter what food your serving or what’s been brought in, you have to keep your food bar organized. It will turn into a chaotic mess if there is no structure or plan for things. Make sure the counters aren’t overcluttered and everything is in its own place. If you have cabinets or some type of pantry that you put the overflow in, don’t just throw things in there. Keeping things tidy and orderly will help you know what you need for the bar, as well as give off a more professional appearance.
Find A Place
Your food bar will look best in its own designated space. While it might sound fun to put it in the foyer, hallway, or a conference room, the ideal spot would be to have some type of break room to put it in. This allows anyone to come in and grab something whenever they want, and they don’t have to wait for a meeting to be over or a crowded hallway to calm down.
Stick to the Budget
One of the most important things to think about when creating your food bar is how much you are going to spend on it. You should make a budget for how much money you are willing to spend on it each week or month. It’s tempting to go to the store and buy all the yummy snacks you see, but that isn’t always the most responsible thing to do, especially when spending money. Sometimes you can splurge on something a little extra or may buy custom treats, but you don’t want to make it an all the time thing.
You can’t have a food bar without having food in it. Several factors will help you determine what foods will go best in your bar, but there are some common rules most businesses go by. One of the big things is to try and limit how much sugar you’re putting in the selections. Employees are more prone to take these treats, but they can hinder work productivity. Everyone needs a little something sweet every now and then though, so don’t be afraid to have them in small doses. You also want to stay away from foods that could have a particular smell or spoils quickly. Don’t forget to have things that everyone in your office can eat. If there are food allergies or certain dietary restrictions for some employees, try to keep these in mind.
Keeping your bar stocked is important as you won’t have to wonder if there’s food or not. When you buy your snacks, try to get things that are repackaged and will last for a while. This way you can buy in bulk, making sure you continuously have food stocked in the pantry. It’s also helpful to keep a running list of things you have or haven’t tried, making note of the foods the employees seem to love the most. There’s no point in having a food bar if no one is eating from it.
Utilize your opportunity with the food bar to promote a healthy lifestyle when comes to eating. Filling the bar with processed foods and fake substances can have negative effects on your employees in the office as well as at home. You don’t have to make it the healthiest bar on the planet but try to consciously think about what you’re filling it with. When deciding on things to buy, think or look up something like “is oatmeal good for you” to get a better understanding of what people should and shouldn’t eat. Nutritious foods will help your employees feel and work better. It can also inspire them to change their diet at home. It may take a little time for everyone to get used to, but consistently filling the bar with good snacks and treats will eventually hit its mark.
Keep It Clean
Your food bar and area must stay clean. If you fail to maintain it, you are only asking for problems. Cleanliness is important for several reasons. It helps things look nice for sure, but it also makes things safe. Molding food and impure bacteria should not be seen or known in your food bar. While it’s not fair to make you clean up other people’s messes, make it clear to your employees that if they aren’t picking up after themselves, there will be serious consequences. The food bar leader should be in charge of cleaning everything up at the end of each day and making sure things are clean and in order. Untouched messes can turn into permanent issues if not taken care of right away.
Give It a Theme
A fun idea is to have your food bar themed out every so often. You could do this monthly, weekly, or even seasonally. It’s a great way to fill it with snacks that may not be so well known or are only around during certain times of the year. You could do national themes where you explore what other countries would eat for a snack too. Whatever you do, make it fun and enticing. Your employees will visit more if they see something new on the bar.
Don’t Forget Drinks
While you are creating a food bar, you can’t forget the drinks. It’s important to help keep your employees hydrated throughout the day. This will keep them alert and energized to make it through. Coffee is the staple found in most office, but you should have other fluids as well. Hot herbal teas can help someone relax when they’re having a frustrating day, and complimentary water bottles can inspire employees to drink enough water every day. There are several other beverages you could look into having as well.
Don’t be afraid of offering free food to your employees. Food bars can actually be used as tools in the work place.