Have you thought about pitching your corporate dining program to potential new hires? As competition for professional talent heats up, businesses increasingly promote corporate dining as a perk to attract educated, hard-working employees with discriminating tastes about where and what they eat. “Business diners today are a lot savvier about contemporary food trends,” says Matt Stone, Director of Business Development at Café Services, a corporate dining company serving Massachusetts and over 200 locations along the east coast. “They look at the café not just as a convenience, but as a comfortable place to recharge in the middle of the day or do business.” Businesses that cater to employees’ high standards for tasteful, innovative food and an upscale ambiance have a lot to gain financially. Corporate dining facilities with consistently strong participation rates are solid revenue generators. In the face of rising insurance costs, a quality corporate dining program with a variety of nutritious menu options extends companies’ efforts in employee health and wellness. Café Services gets this. Like the companies it serves, it puts a premium on attracting culinary professionals with the right training and right experience; but most of all, a passion for food and customer service that’s long been a company hallmark. The payoff is the company’s unique ability to create lively, stylish corporate dining environments that draw crowds and support customers’ business goals. Creating Lasting Impressions. Café 930 Winter in Waltham, Massachusetts is a prime example of the Café Services approach. Led by General Manager, Stan Pendrak, the multi-level cafe is set in a sunlit atrium and furnished with sleek glass-topped tables. Eye-catching, professionally designed menus and health-focused newsletters line the walls. A high-impact chalkboard promotes daily menu specials and upcoming events. All of it evokes the look and energy of an urbane commercial eatery. A hospitality industry veteran, Stan joined Café Services in April with front-line and senior management experience at several of New England’s iconic, city hotels and restaurants. He oversees a staff of 10, including an executive chef with a degree from world-class culinary school, Johnson & Wales University. At lunchtime on any given weekday, the café bustles with the comings and goings of the healthcare professionals that work in the building. Café 930 is also a magnet for diners from surrounding business campuses. Diners come not only for the food—which rivals that of many restaurants’ in quality, variety and presentation—but also for the experience. At Café 930, it’s an experience carefully crafted by Stan’s team to exude an air of warmth and excitement, all at the same time. “Being successful in corporate dining is about making a lasting impression that makes guests want to come back and talk us up to their co-workers,” says Stan. Autumn Attractions. This month at Café 930, the main feature is an apple orchard featuring 6 varieties of local apples, hot apple cider and fresh baked pumpkin muffins—artfully arranged on haystacks amid a colorful assortment of foliage, pumpkins and gourds. In August and September, it was a farm stand offering local seasonal produce. Stan is quick to point out that behind the bold displays and novelties, there’s a real focus on customer service that’s a priority across the Café Services organization. “Understanding our guests and listening to what they want is a responsibility of everyone on my staff,” says Stan. Satisfying Customers to Feed Business Success. Stan feels fortunate to work for a company like Café Services that gives him the creative freedom to respond in meaningful ways to what diners want. In response to repeated requests for more gluten-free choices, Stan created a gluten-free healthy snack bar offering products such as assorted dried fruits, rice chips, protein shakes and soymilk. When diners asked for more salad bar toppings, Stan transformed the salad bar into a “health bar,” stocked with everything from sunflower and pumpkin seeds to different varieties of dried fruits and nuts. “By giving guests what they ask for, we create a whole new revenue source for our customers,” says Stan. As for attracting potential new talent, who wouldn’t want to work in an environment with professionals who really listen?