This is the second in an occasional series about improving “intranet staples”. These are common areas, collections of pages or microsites which appear in virtually every intranet, but are often delivered in a rather drab way, and which can always be improved to be more engaging. Last time we looked at the CSR pages. This time we’re looking at that perennial favourite – the staff canteen pages.
Forgive the pun, but the staff restaurant menu is usually (although not always) a staple on any corporate intranet. It tends to be one the most consistently visited areas, and along with the employee directory, is the place that people who ‘don’t’ go’ on to the intranet, go to. However I think the menu’s popularity is sometimes a source of slight embarrassment to intranet managers, who wish something more obviously business-focused and targeted on value was more popular.
Given that the canteen menu really delivers the hits, there is an opportunity to engage staff here. A weekly PDF uploaded with the menu is perhaps ‘good enough’, but there are many ways to make the staff restaurant section more active and useful. So in celebration of the staff canteen, below are a few ideas on how to go about it.
Allowing mobile access to your restaurant menu is a good start. Employees can look what’s on offer for lunch as they wait for the lift or check out breakfast on the way from the station in the morning.. When organisations have mobilised their intranet the canteen menu is often featured for example at Square. Naturally UK Parliament with over twenty restaurants and bars made this a central part of its mobile environment.
Make it global
If you are working for a multi-locational company clearly the staff restaurant facilities are going to vary dramatically depending on where an employee is based. For global intranets which target content to users based on their profile, and if there is some kind of global navigation in place, the ideal is for each staff restaurant menu to appear to the right user, defined by the metadata relating to working location.
Ratings and feedback
Is your staff restaurant section social? Can users add comments about the menu selection, leave suggestions, add likes or ratings? Say the things they didn’t like? There is a good opportunity to build a rapport with employees and derive valuable insights into what people like and didn’t like. The most popular dishes can be displayed, for example. The flipside is that complaints can be viewed, and some moderation may be necessary.
Often the restaurant staff may be employed by an outsourced corporate caterer and so may not have profiles on the employee directory, yet they meet many staff each day. Including social profiles on the intranet in some form or other helps employees better appreciate hard-working restaurant staff.:
Swapping recipes has proved to be popular on some organisation’s social intranets. Are there recipes to share from the staff restaurant menu or even a competition where the restaurant produces a staff recipe?
Promotions and offers
Promotions and offers can of course help drive traffic to the site and staff to the canteen. These can include seasonal themes or loyalty programmes. If employees can collect loyalty points and then check out how many they have online, even better.
OK, so strictly not part of the intranet, but digital signage is an opportunity to advertise today’s special. You also have an opportunity to catch the attention of people queuing.
Portal integration or content offerings from suppliers
If you have a major contract supplier for your staff restaurant they may have some kind of portal offering or content feed which can integrate with your intranet. The only danger is this may have a tendency to lapse into bland corporate content, for example about healthy nutrition.
If any pre-ordering of food can be carried out, can it be done via the intranet? With some catering functions there may be some overlap with the ordering of catering for meetings and events. .
Check your credit
If your canteen operates a credit card system then allowing users to check (and ideally top up) how much credit they have left via the intranet can be very useful. Of course this is even better if it can be displayed within the restaurant microsite.
A webcam focused on the restaurant can allow users to see if there are long queues or available tables.
What do you think? Do intranet managers give enough love and attention to the canteen menu? Are there any other things that can be done to improve the area? Let us know in the comments below!