“I think you’re on mute.” That seems to be the phrase of the year as people are adapting to a new environment of connecting virtually.
As we pivot to meet the evolving needs of our guests, many of which are still working from home, we’ve made it a priority to stand by our pillar to connect with people even when we can’t physically be with them.
While the opportunities to connect face-to-face are limited, we’ve been finding new ways to connect with our guests and associates right where they are.
OUR THREE C's of virtual hospitality
Let’s get CREATIVE.
We’ve shifted our Teaching Kitchen and Inspired Kitchen platforms to virtual formats to allow all of our guests, whether they are working from home or socially distanced in the office, to learn from our culinarians. Our chefs and dietitians are providing cooking demonstrations and helping participants hone their kitchen skills while sharing recipes they can make themselves. Participants are provided a shopping list and recipe ahead of time, and each session has a different theme or topic. Virtual Teaching Kitchens are also being utilized for team-building activities to keep our client teams connected, whether it’s led by one of our executive chefs or by a partnering celebrity chef.
Some of our teams on the West Coast have also been creating take-home meal kits that can be prepared with children at home. Each meal kit comes with a video tutorial on how to create the meal together, hosted by one of our chefs and his children. One of the great benefits of virtual hospitality to the ability to expand the opportunity for others to join in on the fun.
Not only have we implemented contactless order and pay and other innovations to ensure safety, we’re also offering Fuel for School Snack Boxes through our mobile ordering apps in various locations. The boxes are designed with busy parents in mind, filled with well-rounded snacks for their kids and taking one less thing to think about when working and juggling duties at home.
CONNECTION is key.
We have always prioritized the guest experience because we know creating a memorable one is what will keep a customer coming back, and we don’t want masks to get in the way to greeting familiar faces.
Some of our teams have clipped pictures of their full face onto their badges so returning guests recognize their favorite team members even if they have a mask on. Our marketplaces have also launched a #BehindtheMask series on Instagram to create that connection virtually.
Social media has been a powerful tool in showcasing how we are driving the guest experience, as our teams utilize that outlet to communicate with guests at home. It’s also been an important platform in promoting mini-marketplace events and Chef’s Tables to infuse some excitement with the return-to-work.
Through our associate engagement mobile app, associates from all over the country are coming together in one space, encouraging collaboration and story sharing. This app is a dedicated space for our people to share what they are doing, see what others are doing and get to know one another on a more personal level. And our associates are loving it.
At the end of the day, all of this is done to build a community between our teams and our guests across the country. Through the challenging times brought on by the pandemic, we’ve found that a significant way we can build community is by giving back. Thanks to the efforts from our teams and clients, we’ve donated thousands of meals to local communities. Nothing makes us feel more connected and in community than when we can ban together to provide hospitality to others.
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