THE modern workplace has undergone a transformation over the last decade, from hot-desking and flexi-time to lunchtime yoga and ping pong in the boardroom.
But if you’re sitting in yet another lunch meeting staring at the same-old tray of stale Danishes and egg and cress sandwiches, chances are your workplace catering has failed to follow suit.
Harvard Business School MBA Riya Grover was in one such meeting when she realised in-office catering had fallen behind the wave of workplace wellbeing strategies designed to appeal to the new generation.
“Old school caterers don’t necessarily reflect the way that people want to eat nowadays, and as a professional working in the City I was finding it quite difficult to find things that I liked,” she says.
“I came across cafes like Mae Deli, Pollen & Grace and Vita Mojo, and realised that there’s actually a ton of innovation going on among food vendors, but people can’t access it in a way that’s simple and efficient.”
Cue Feedr, an online platform where companies can order group meals from a carefully curated selection of healthy food vendors across central London.
Riya launched Feedr with friend Lyz Swanton with around 20 restaurants and cafes in late summer last year, and found the Capital’s workplaces were more than willing to be fed.
The pair have seen 30% month-on-month growth and their cohort of vendors shoot up to over 100; California-inspired cafe Bel Air, salad bar SHOT and clean eating guru Deliciously Ella’s delis among them.
To place an order, businesses simply enter their location, number of people and spend per head, and Feedr presents the vendors that deliver to the area and have the capacity to fill the order.
All menus have nutritional information and allergens, with gluten-free, non-dairy, vegan and vegetarian options highlighted.
Riya says that açai bowls, chia pots and egg-based hot boxes are among the most popular items for breakfasts, while salads and proteins, and sourdough sandwiches with fresh produce are hitting the spot at lunchtime.
Healthy snacks like protein balls and mini salad pots replace sugary biscuits and sweets when the 3.30pm munchies roll around.
“Generally our understanding of food and what goes into it has really improved,” she says.
“People have a strong notion of how they want to eat; whether that’s vegan or vegetarian, and are much more discerning about intolerances to things like dairy and gluten, and businesses need to be able to cater to that.”
And while Feedr found its origins in workplace catering, Riya sees the company expanding to feed this discerning new customer outside the meeting room through Daily Menus, a curated selection of dishes that can be ordered individually, but through company credits to improve delivery efficiency for multiple orders.
“Professionals are incredibly nutrition conscious, but they’re also interested in making sure the food they eat is produced and delivered responsibly,” Riya says.
“We started with groups because we think that most of that market transacts offline, but there’s an opportunity to do much more through the online space.”