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Companies like Sony Entertainment, UBS and DDR Corp. use reward programs and offer healthier menu items to help employees make better decisions at meal times.
Despite their best intentions, people can make poor decisions when it comes to eating well. After all, it’s a heck of a lot easier to opt for high-fat, fried food when the consequences of doing so—heart disease, clogged arteries,high blood pressure and diabetes—seem so far in the future.
So, what does it take to motivate people to make more healthful choices?
“Our employee wellness program—dubbed e Summit Fit Club—was designed as a novelty reward program to incentivize customers to make more healthful food choices,” says Michael Atanasio, Director of Food & Nutrition at Overlook Medical Center, Summit, New Jersey. “It takes away the confusion about what’s healthy and what’s not,” he adds.
“Each item sold in the cafeteria is awarded a point value; when employees check out, they swipe a reward card and the POS system tallies and records the points. For every 200 'wellness' points, the customer gets a $5 gift card good toward purchases in the hospital cafe.”
Such loyalty programs have become an increasingly common tool for onsite foodservice programs looking to increase employee engagement and help diners quickly identify and make more nutritious meal choices. At Overlook, it's also helped Atanasio increase sales by nearly $38,000.
Incentive-based employee wellness programs like this are enhanced by easy-to-follow signage, clever product placement, healthful themes, urban farms, culinary classes and even fat fees. But to be truly eff ective, they also need to off er food that looks—and tastes—really good, adds Mickey Venditti, executive chef and general manager at DDR Corp. DDR is located just east of Cleveland, OH, and is operated by Metz Culinary Management, which has put a lot of emphasis on recipe development for this purpose, says Venditti.
“Combine that with some smart merchandising techniques and the healthy option can be the most appealing one, too.”