Romil Ratra, CEO of the A, Mumbai’s Private Members’ Work & Leisure Club

 In an article published in 2016, Calgary Herald, Andrea Holwegner — a corporate wellness expert and professional speaker specialising in workplace health, stress and productivity — explained why workplaces need to focus on what their employees eat. She focussed on a recent worldwide survey that found 67% of employees who work in offices with a variety of meal plans and consistent snacking opportunity were happy with their workplace culture.

If you work at an office, chances are, you eat at least one meal at work, and if you are a millennial working at a fancy corporate office, or an entrepreneur working round the clock, it is safe to assume that most of your meals are away from home. Workplaces across the globe understand the shift in eating culture and invest their energies in engineering a perfect version of the good
old canteen.


Let’s take a trip down memory lane, the office canteen — a place known for linear arrangement of tables and chairs, compartmentalised plates and a cyclic menu. Studies have shown that the midday break makes employees feel more energetic, motivated and more able to concentrate for the tasks ahead.

Smart companies of the world like Google provide breakfast, lunch and dinner. Did I mention the coffee and juice bars scattered across the Google campus? Google provides gourmet food to employees to make it worth their while to stay with the company. Statistics prove that their investments towards ‘employee happiness’ have been fruitful with meagre attrition rates and an ever-rising number of applications year on year.


The employee of today wants to know where their food is sourced from, what is the nutritional value of the ingredients and whether it matches their dietary preferences. Workplaces that are ready to set the table for a healthy and productive workforce, make sure to provide a coffee station equipped with various roasts, decaffeinated options, flat whites, cortados, brushed suedes along with options like almond milk, soy milk for those who prefer going non-dairy.

Studies have shown that at least 28% of people who work, routinely skip their breakfast, and we all know how important it is to fuel up before kickstarting the day. Power-offices, like Evernote, treat their employees to green smoothies, breakfast pastries, hearty bagels among other welcoming preparations every morning. ‘Modern Day’ offices have understood the correlation between nourishing their workforce and growing their business, and hence a lot of them have up their game by making options like keto-friendly, gluten free and vegan available.


What gave rise to these diet trends? Let’s revisit the fact that we are more mindful, well-aware of what is good for the gut and our overall wellbeing. While putting together the menus for The A – Mumbai’s first private members’ networking club, I made sure to include ample options to cater to everyone. And so, whether it is bulletproof keto coffee, vegan smoothies, granola bars, and innovative preparations like the truffle quinoa paella which replaces rice with protein-packed black quinoa, our menus at the members’ only club can cater to everyone’s pick.

With a spur in the demand for various options, the industry saw a rise in food delivery and central kitchen businesses. For those who work in places that do not provide their preferred meals, now have the option to order their meals in a matter of clicks.
Central kitchen businesses have knowledgeable chefs on board who understand the importance of diet. They offer weekly and monthly meal plans that are designed especially for an individual post a complete fitness and health analysis. The employees are at an advantage with such a programme because it saves their time, it is healthy and perfect for their body, and it also does not burn a hole in their pocket.

Food is an important aspect of the organisational culture and adapting to the change in food culture is another imperative strategy that the workplaces of today need to master. Innovation is key and the offices that channel their interests to the liveliest part of the office – ‘the canteen’ will experience more smiles around the office and, of course, a reduced attrition rate.