Perks of free snacks in the workplace

Why Offering Free Snacks is a Great Perk for the Office

A recent article in the New York Times discussed how micro-progress can help improve productivity and keep you going. The idea is this: for one task that needs to be completed, you set multiple ‘mini goals’ that you can achieve along the way to help complete the entire task. It’s an interesting approach and partly based on Newton’s 1st Law, which, in essence, means that an object in motion stays in motion.

What does this have to do with free snacks and office perks?

Well, in an effort to improve office morale, a lot of ideas are thrown around. Some of them are big (perhaps too big) and are nearly impossible carry out or too expensive. But there are smaller steps that office managers can take to help reach the ultimate goal of boosting morale. In other words, sometimes it’s the little wins that count. One such win would be offering free snacks. It’s a relatively easy perk to implement and offers a variety of benefits.

Benefits of Offering Free Snacks in the Workplace

Could improve productivity. Food gives us energy, and if employees don’t have the fuel they need to complete their tasks each day, then their productivity can be affected. That mid-morning or afternoon snack can be a real life-saver sometimes and give you enough of a boost to finish up an important task. Also, providing free snacks keeps them on-site and prevents them from wasting time having to leave the building just to find a snack.

Makes people happier. People love free stuff. What’s more is that people love free food. A recent survey found that workplaces that happiness increases among employees when free snacks are offered. Free snacks as a perk are often more important to millennials than other age groups, and with millennials now the largest group in the workforce, it’s a perk that should not be overlooked. It shows a sense of personal investment on behalf of the company in their employees, an element to workplace culture that’s so desirable by millennials that it’s essential for companies to consider.

Healthier snacks can help improve moods. Want to help prevent that afternoon slump? Offer a variety of healthier options, like yogurt, fresh fruit, or nuts. Candy and chips are nice to indulge in sometimes, but the sudden increase in sugar can leave you feeling tired. Healthy foods will keep your employees from fizzling out right when they need to power up.

Some office managers might be skeptical about this approach to their company break room. After all, offering free snacks and food to employees means someone has to purchase them. But there are plenty of snack delivery services out there to choose from that make it simple.

Hospitality Trends 2018

8 Hotel Trends to Watch in 2018

We’re so fickle. Just when we settle into a routine of any sort, something new comes along and we all jump on it. Most times it’s just a fad, but every now and then a trend comes along that sticks.

The hotel industry is no different.

Consumer nature changes so frequently that it almost seems impossible to keep up. So what’s trending in hospitality now that will be more than a temporary fad, and be seen as progress for the industry? Here are eight trends to consider this year to help increase reservations and revenue.

8 Trends for the Hotel Industry in 2018

1. Mobile Payments

Look, it’s 2018. The iPhone has been around for an entire decade now. There’s really no need to go into detail about why mobile payments are a big deal. But what is important to note in respect to the use of mobile for your hotel goes beyond just making a payment.

Millennials, who now make up a huge demographic of travelers, expect brands to offer a full-range of benefits via mobile, beginning with their initial research. Maintaining a continuous relationship even after they make their purchase is essential to help convince them to choose your brand again. In other words, your hotel should offer mobile support with booking, on-property services, and continue to delight guests after their stay.

2. Food & Beverage

A strong food and beverage strategy for your hotel can bring in $16k in profit per day, so it’s a category hotel managers would be remiss to ignore.

In 2018, there will be a focus on simplicity and healthier food options from locally sourced suppliers, a trend likely to bring back some revenue to hotel restaurants. Additionally, retail will be a focus for many hotel brands. Pantry supplies are easier to source as a result of new pantry management services that help keep track of sales, inventory, and revenue.

3. Data & Analytics

Tired of hearing the term ‘big data’ yet? Well, it’s going to be here a while, and for good reason. Collecting information from your guests provides you with the opportunity to understand them better, which then affords you the ability to provide products and services specific to their desires.

4. Personalized Experiences

All that data you collected? That’ll help you offer a better overall experience for guests. You’re not just selling a service, in 2018 you’re selling a relationship. You need to use the data you’ve collected from guests to help you offer services that speak to them individually. Did John watch an action movie during his stay? Did Jane order a salad from room service? You can use this information to market to them even after they’ve left, and to  offer them similar experiences when they return.

5. Local Experiences

Many travelers will seek to experience where they are as ‘a local.’ That means hotels need to be knowledgeable about the best local entertainment, restaurants, or other cultural centers that are unique to that area. Tourist sites will still be popular, but guests are longing for those unique experiences that they can only get in your town or city. Provide them with all the local spots to hang out.

6. Cloud-Based Technology

Upgrading to a cloud-based property management system (PMS) makes it easier to manage everything. As Hotelogix explains: “Using a cloud-based property management system allows you to run your hotel operations, manage reservations, allot room bookings and do much more from a single dashboard. It’s easy to check data, assign duties, manage folios, run your additional Point of Sale (POS) counters and reduce time spent on manual updates.”

7. Smart Rooms

In an effort to make the guest experience as convenient as possible, many hotel brands are in various stages of making rooms more technologically advanced. Dimming the lights, turning on the TV, adjusting the temperature, and perhaps other abilities are options that will soon available to guests through their phones. Hilton uses an app for these kinds of adjustments, and Marriott is developing voice-activated technology.

8. Online Reputation Management

Consumers search for reviews online before purchasing virtually any product or service. Hotel managers need to focus on managing how their hotel is being reviewed and talked about online. Many hoteliers are using tools specifically designed to help streamline this management process. Hubspot, Salesforce, and Infusionsoft are just some of the tools out there that can help manage your relationships with your guests.

work distractions

5 Distractions That Kill Productivity at Work

Productivity is a high priority for most businesses. Many leaders (82% of them) consider productivity to be a top indicator of financial success or failure. Why, then, is workplace productivity only mediocre in most companies? There are many factors that are attributed to a loss in productivity, among them are distractions.

As an office manager, there is perhaps nothing more frustrating for you than employees who are unable to complete their work. Especially because of unnecessary distractions. To mitigate these interruptions, you first need to identify them, then decide how (and if) you can prevent them from causing problems among staff. The list below offers a good place to start.

5 Workplace Distractions to Eliminate to Improve Productivity

1. Cell Phone Notifications

Social media, game notifications, and text messages are endless. As most people keep their cell phones on their desks, within arms reach, it’s inevitable that interruptions will occur more than once throughout the day–if only for even a second. While you don’t want to run the risk of micro managing too much, it’s well within reason to encourage employees to keep their cell phones out of reach and out of sight. Not only will it stop employees from jumping at every notification that comes through, it also prevents them from checking their phones for no reason out of habit.

2. Politics

We’re not talking office politics here. NPR previously reported on increased political tensions in workplaces for the 2016 election compared to past cycles, resulting an increase in workplace arguments and stress due to politics. As The Atlantic reported:

  • 87% read political social-media posts during the day
  • nearly 50% reported witnessing a political discussion turn into an argument
  • 29% say they’re less productive post election*

Let those stats sink in a bit.

The amount of stress and distractions accrued just from receiving a steady dose of news throughout the day can (and likely will) derail your entire workflow. Managers need to help their employees focus on work to keep productivity levels where they need to be. Encourage employees to keep political opinions to themselves to avoid any arguments.

3. Toxicity

Just about any workplace can become toxic, either in an instant (as noted above with politics) or over time. Constant drama, gossip, dysfunctional competition, and disrespect are just some of the signs of a toxic workplace. Such environments are often attributed to poor leadership. As Annie McKee, a company leadership advisor, writes in her book “How To Be Happy At Work,” such toxic conditions “result in fear, cynicism, lack of trust, anger and withholding of time, energy and talent, not to mention deep and pervasive unhappiness.” This doesn’t really set the groundwork for a productive office, does it? It’s essential that office managers recognize any and all elements that can cause a once-healthy workplace into a toxic one, then quickly provide solutions to the problems at hand.

4. Hunger

Consider this from Harvard Business Review: “Imagine a world where filling up at Mobil meant avoiding all traffic and using BP meant driving no faster than 20 miles an hour. Would you then be so cavalier about where you purchased your gas?” In context, the article suggests that fueling your body with food and getting gas for your car are not the same–what you eat impacts your productivity at work. As a manager, you should encourage employees to eat well so they can stay energized to complete their tasks. There are days, of course, when time just gets away from you. In these instances, it’s great to offer employees snack options. You can have wholesale snacks delivered right to your office, or go the more traditional route and get vending machines.

5. Not Planning

At the heart of being productive is having a plan. Coming into work on Monday morning without any vision for what needs to be accomplished that week will lead to a ‘reactive’ approach to work, where employees just respond to what’s being thrown at them. Not only should employees organize and plan their work week in advance, but they should have a plan ready for when they are inevitably interrupted throughout the day. New research shows that creating a plan for when you’re interrupted can help you easily get back on track and increase your productivity.

Questions about hotel pantry

10 Questions to Ask Before Signing Up for a Hotel Pantry Supplier

As more and more hotels make the transition to using pantries instead of vending machines as a way to provide guests with snacks and other items, it’s becoming more clear that a strategic approach to managing the pantry is essential for its success. Without a good plan in place, hotel managers run the risk of wasting time and money. That’s why a reliable wholesale snack supplier is important.

Before signing up for a supply delivery service, you need to do proper research. The last thing you want is to jump into something only to realize it was a bad decision. Here are ten questions to ask your prospective pantry supply service before signing up for their program.

10 Questions to Ask Before Signing Up for a Hotel Pantry Delivery Service

1. How long does delivery take?

It’s be great to have a set schedule for deliveries of snacks and other supplies, but that’s just not feasible for hotels. There’s really no set standard for how many guests will stay each week. If a high school sports team stops by for the night and ransacks your pantry, will you have to wait a full week (or more) for your next delivery? A supplier that can deliver in 24-48 hours is ideal.

2. Do they use software to manage inventory?

Keeping track of sales and easily placing new orders on paper is time-consuming and the antithesis to proper pantry management. When choosing a supplier of wholesale goods for your pantry, make sure they offer an easy-to-use platform to place orders and track sales.

3. Does the software require integration with a property management system (PMS)?

The software doesn’t necessarily have to integrate into your PMS, but it should be flexible enough that it can if needed.

4. What is the extent of reporting?

A good pantry management service should be able to track all aspects of your pantry. At the property level, managers should be able to see total revenue, total cost, shrinkage, profitability, and item-level sales that show top-/least-selling products. For a national plan, corporate should have access to national, regional, and local drill-down analytics.

5. Can they provide a demo?

As with any software application, a demo provides optimal insight into the service and will show you how robust the service is.

6. How are orders billed?

Will it be monthly? Per order? Be sure to find out how the supplier will send you invoices for purchasing product.

7. What margins can they produce?

Your pantry is a source of extra revenue for your hotel, so you want to be sure you’re not just breaking even on the items you’re selling…or worse, losing money. A good pantry management service will be able to produce margins of up to 50%, depending on the item.

8. How do they reduce shrinkage?

Good pantry management software should allow managers to track inventory and shrinkage. This will give both the manager and the supplier the information they need to determine what steps should be taken to prevent shrinkage. Such steps could include security cameras or having staff more present in the area of where the pantry is located.

9. Does the supplier provide any market research?

A successful pantry is one that is managed using the latest information on trends and best practices. Ask the supplier what they can do to help make your pantry more successful. Find out if they provide expert merchandising and use planograms.

10. Ask for References

As always, find out what others think of the supplier’s services. Ask at least two or three customers so you can be confident in your decision to sign up with the supplier or not.