Cafeteria Management Insights

Café Services Shows a Passion For People At Massachusetts Corporate Food Service Cafe

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Café Services Shows a Passion For People At Massachusetts Corporate Food Service Cafe

Special Treatment Is “Daily Special” In Arbella Insurance Corporate Dining Room

If you wonder what Café Services means by saying they’re passionate about people, just stroll through the Massachusetts corporate food service cafe at Arbella Insurance in the Crown Colony Office Park near Boston. You’re likely to catch Café Services Chef Manager, Jay, mingling with the lunch crowd, inquiring about the food and service, and entertaining diners with his easy wit.

Jay looks engaged. Even relaxed, which is impressive when you consider he leads a team that feeds up to 350 office workers a day in the main dining room and operates a satellite café serving continental breakfast in the morning. Beyond overseeing all mealtime logistics, it’s a role that encompasses behind-the-scenes activities such as daily menu planning, food orders, and inventory and payroll management.

“We work very hard,” says Jay. “Usually, I’m here from 4 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. But I’m a people person, and I thrive on opportunities to interact with my guests and show off our culinary skills.”

More Than Just A Meal: Making Corporate Dining An Event

Jay’s visibility among diners is a big part of what sets Café Services apart from other Massachusetts corporate food service companies: The willingness to go the extra mile to create a comfortable, energetic and completely satisfying dining experience. Café Services finds this is exactly what it takes to keep diners filling the café, day after day. To Arbella, this is more than just a goal; it’s essential to the success of its Massachusetts corporate food service program.

Jay and his team encourage high participation by making coming to the Arbella cafe an event—rather than just a chance to get a meal.

Says Jay: “We’re always trying to generate excitement about what’s happening in the café. I ask my team every Monday, ‘What can we ‘wow’ them with this week?’”

To build enthusiasm, Jay changes the menu weekly and designs meals that cater to diverse tastes. He’s an avid student of all the latest culinary trends and finds creative ways to incorporate them into his daily menus. Cuisine with a Southwestern flare—such as fajita and adobe chicken salads—are a Café Service specialty and popular in the Arbella dining room.

Contests are also a big draw.  A Café Services favorite is inviting diners to guess how many candy pieces are in a jar. At Arbella, Jay keeps diners interested by changing the attraction with the seasons. For example, he may fill jars with candy corn in the fall, red-striped candy nuggets during the winter holidays and jellybeans in spring.

Success Through Service

If food sales are any indication, Jay and his team are big success. He estimates that since Café Services started managing the Massachusetts corporate food service program in August 2008, cafeteria revenue for Arbella has risen about 20%. Jay credits much of this to the “wow” factor, backed by the Café Services focus on service excellence.

“I can count on my associates to give 100%, every day,” says Jay. “We’re like a winning team—always backing each other up so that no balls are dropped. We really take pride in our ability to exceed expectations. ”

To Jay, attention to detail is where Café Services truly excels. He frequently solicits input from diners’ on their likes, dislikes and satisfaction with the Café Services team. And he works hard to create appealing, tasteful meals for diners with special requirements—like food allergies and vegetarians.

“If we make people feel special,” says Jay, “people will come back.” His yardstick for measuring success is getting no complaints from diners—or management, for that matter. “From that perspective, it’s always very quiet around here.”

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