As we end our eighth week since lockdown started, the impact on business has been significant – never before in our lifetime have we seen our country grind to a halt, virtually overnight. Every sector has been impacted; but with lockdown measures slowly starting to ease this week, we’re starting to look ahead to what the ‘next normal’ will be when we do return to the workplace.

For many of the organisations we work with, revenue from on-site catering operations contribute significantly to the bottom line. For many, it’s not a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a key part of the business operation and employee wellbeing package.

But with social distancing measures almost certainly going to be part of our every day for the foreseeable future and greater emphasis on how public dining areas can operate safely, just how can on-site catering operations serve their people when they are given the green light to do so?

Much like how local restaurants have adapted their dine in offering to takeaway services during the lockdown, it seems the corporate world may also turn to this approach. Recently we were speaking to a multinational bank and financial services company, with a large head office in London, who are looking at implementing an online ordering service where lunch orders will be delivered direct to desks. Essentially, an in-house takeaway delivery service located right within the office.

The benefits to employees are vast – this minimises human contact, ensures colleagues stay a safe distance from each other when on their lunch break and there is no need to venture unnecessarily out of the office to access food and drink.

In many ways, we are fortunate to live in the world today. The options tech offers businesses allow us all to pivot and flex our operations to suit the changing landscape. Mobile technology in particular has seen huge leaps forward in recent years – particularly with the growth of apps. We launched an app – the mySYSTOPIA app – which taps into consumer’s natural interest in the mobile wallet market and makes online ordering in the workplace possible.

Available for iOS and android smart devices, the app allows users to pre-order food options and pay online.  Multiple payment cards can be added to each person’s personal account, giving them full control over their spending. The app also encourages sales through loyalty schemes, where users can collect and redeem points – for example for buying the ‘meal of the week’ or for purchasing a breakfast deal.

We’ve worked with many organisations across multiple sectors including B&I, Finance, Higher Education and Leisure, to integrate the app into their food services environment. Pre-pandemic this was a popular option as it gave businesses a way to adapt their offering, bringing another revenue stream into the mix. Post-pandemic this is looking set to be even more popular as businesses seek ways of maintaining some level of social distancing and ensure their employees feel they can return to the workplace in a way that feels safe.

Traditional dining areas may not look the same as they did for some time; but that doesn’t mean that catering operations have to remain completely stalled. We’ve all witnessed admirable innovations as a result of the lockdown, with communities rallying together to provide for each other and businesses pivoting to adapt to the new environment. Online ordering, food deliveries direct to desks and payments online are just that; innovations that make up our ‘next normal’.

To hear about the mySYSTOPIA app or how we can help you transform your business operation contact us on

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