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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.
Changing Choices & Offsetting Costs
Nutritious choices are not new to the cafés at UBS Financial Services in Weehawken, N.J. “Our goal is to make the healthy option the default option,” says Linda Tucker, executive director of Food & Conference Services. “For instance, if you order a hamburger here, it comes on a whole-wheat bun.”
UBS has also expanded its menu with more wholesome offerings, recently asking its provider, Restaurant Associates, to add vegan/gluten-free dishes to the menu and to replace all cured meats with uncured meats. She notes that the latter change meant moving to a new meat supplier and an increase in its annual food cost by $65,000. To off set that cost, UBS increased the price of sandwiches 25 cents and moved bacon from the hot breakfast bar, where it was sold by the ounce, to the grill station, where it is now sold as a portion.
UBS also reduced the number of proteins offered at each meal and increased the variety of cooked vegetables, legumes and grains. “We were pleasantly surprised to see that these changes didn’t impact sales one bit,” Tucker reports. UBS then rolled out the same changes to the company's catering menus.
“Every day, at least one guest tells me they’ve never had quinoa or amaranth or bean salad before and how surprised they are at how delicious it is,” she adds.
Ultimately, good food is good food. And if it it’s nutritious? A big bonus.
RELATED: Employee Wellness Programs 3.0
Home to many of these updates, UBS’s Goodness! station runs a four-week menu cycle. One side of the station features a cold well with a variety of beans and grains; the other side rotates among RA’s wellness programs:
• Whole+Sum, a self-serve station that features a protein, starch and vegetable and asks guests “do the math” to create a 600 calorie meal,
• FIT bundles, which pairs up one entrée and one side for a healthy 600 calorie meal,
• and EatingWell, a partnership program with off erings based on recipes from EatingWell magazine.
Additionally, RA created “Healthier Value Meals” that reward guests for bundling healthy items together with a 15% discount.
“Our employees eat a high frequency of meals with us,” says Tucker. “It’s important that we give them the option of enjoying a healthy dining experience. Will it ultimately reduce UBS’s healthcare costs? Maybe. That’s not the only point, though. We want to fuel our employees in the best way possible and this is the common sense way to do so.”