Tom Fender, development director at TWC, said: “We all know that employees are returning to workplaces across the UK, to varying degrees of frequency – and clearly, it’s good news for catering operators in the B&I sector that a steady stream of workers are returning to the office – with many employers now embracing hybrid working models.
“Operators are opening their doors again and starting to recover from the staff-dining wasteland of the past two years, albeit that they will be faced with the inevitable resourcing issues associated with the current labour shortage, having had to let many of their people go over the pandemic.
“The next quarter will give us a strong indication of how workers are perceiving value within their workplace dining and whether they are cutting back on food and beverage purchases within the workplace, when faced with less money in their pockets. For example, in previous recessions we have seen a rise in ‘brown bagging’, where consumers prepare food at home to take to work to save money.
“On this point, we are already seeing a reduction in consumer spending in many sectors (including retail) as individuals are faced with choices to make. That said, the MealTrak data also revealed a strong performance in Retail food-to-go in the last 12 weeks. Whether this rise will impact on workplace dining is yet to be seen.”