Last week, April 15th I took part in the latest of the Ask Arena webinar series. This event, ‘Foodservice – Reopen Right’, focused on workplaces, the return to office and the important role that technology will play in the reimagined workplace.
From my perspective, this is an important conversation about what the post-covid workplace will look like and, while none of us know exactly how the next few months will play out, it was interesting to hear insights direct from other industry leaders in the workplace sector. We discussed many topics, including customer expectations, challenges and opportunities and technology solutions.
As Commercial & Business Excellence Director for Aramark Northern Europe, I work with colleagues across the company to develop effective programmes that establish common Aramark operating standards and processes that enable its operators to efficiently achieve outcomes. In this role, I support operations on behalf of our clients, partners and customers.
Support Anxious Employees
For employees, returning to work can be an anxious time and something that will take some adjustment. It’s important for us to be flexible and allow clients, customers and employees to adapt. Restoring confidence in consumers through safety measures and safe practices is vital to a successful reopening. This sentiment was reiterated among all panellists, highlighting the importance of employee wellness.
At Aramark, nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our employees and their families, our clients, and our customers. As has always been the case, our focus is to create a safe working environment that is inherently about every stakeholder – employee, customer, client, partner, supplier etc. We have a holistic safety programme called EverSafe, which is built on four main principles: Total Wellbeing, Operational Impact, Frictionless Experience, Collaborative. We want to restore confidence in our employees and ensure they feel safe when returning to work.
Collaboration and Technology
As a US multinational, Aramark has the benefit of building from a wide range of client expectations from our broad base offering in the region. This allows us to learn from our colleagues in China, America, Canada and Central Europe to name a few. These geographies have been a great learning curve for us in terms of client and customer expectations for reopening. For example, our colleagues in China are operating at almost full capacity again.
Technology is key to engaging our employees and customers and enhancing our product offering. To be ahead of the game, industry leaders must look at technology and the advantages it can give us. However, Covid-19 has accelerated the need for innovation and has given us time to work on those offerings. At Aramark, we’re looking at a range of digital solutions that can enhance the experience for our customers and clients, including frictionless stores, push-button or grab-n-go solutions.
Beyond the solutions – it’s important to mention that this is also about the strength of the collaboration and trust that our people establish in every client relationship. When you’re in the business of creating memorable experiences, you have to train, treat and endorse yourself to be the ambassadors that they are for your business every day.
Clarity and Flexibility for Re-Opening
From my perspective, when I think about how the hospitality industry is to ‘reopen right’, the priorities are clear – we need to be flexible, create a safe working environment, alleviate any potential customer concerns and restore customer confidence. There is nothing better than face to face interaction in the workplace and we want to create collaborative spaces and food offerings where people want to stay in the office. This is our North Star and our guidance as we look towards further reopening and the future of the workplace.
Rajat Chawla has been with Aramark for over 8 years. In his current role, Raj is closely working with colleagues across the company to develop effective programmes that establish common Aramark operating standards and processes that enable its operators to efficiently achieve outcomes to the delight of its customers, clients, and teams.