In this article, we’ll discuss one often overlooked area to improve employee morale and convenience at work; the creation of micro markets in the workplace. People spend more time at work than ever before, and often find that they are too busy to leave the workplace to get a substantial meal item. Making quality meal choices available to them at work is an innovative way to enable employers to provide excellent meal options and added convenience for their employees. The creation of micro markets in the workplace is a trend on the rise, as both vending operators, and employers found that their employees wanted more substantial meal options than what could be found in a traditional breakroom vending machine. Micro markets are fundamentally changing how the at-work channel marketplace works, opening up exciting opportunities to boost revenue while also increasing satisfaction among employees.
1) Workplace micro markets allow for complete meal options.
In the past, breakrooms typically only contained a vending machine for beverages, and another vending machine for snacks. The micro market upsets this trend, by leveraging new technologies such as cashless payment systems, compact single door refrigeration systems, and surveillance to create a micro-market store environment that brings together substantial meal items with snacks and beverages to create a total meal solution with the same self- check out payment technologies found in today’s grocery stores. The creation of micro markets in the workplace stemmed out of the recognition that many employees may not have the time to leave the workplace to get a meal but desired a wider variety of meal options than a traditional snack vending machine could provide. To meet this need, some employers began to reach out to third-party entities to re-think the traditional employee break room and create a micro market at work that would give their employees an opportunity to fuel up with a high quality meal or snack on their lunch while not requiring them to leave campus. The beauty of a micro market is that they are able to offer more substantial variety of meal options than traditional workplace breakrooms. Additionally, as many consumers are looking towards healthy food choices that offer a greater degree of nutrition, micro markets can fill this niche by offering health foods such as organic fruits and vegetables, gluten free snacks, and protein rich meal items, all of which wouldn’t be found in a traditional vending machine.
2) Micro markets are often designed around a modern aesthetic & new technologies.
Micro markets differ from the traditional breakroom in that they are generally designed in a more open, modern way that facilitates gathering and conversation. As a whole, breakrooms are sad affairs, with cramped space and a few tables and chairs. Unlike this, micro markets are open, well-lit, and feature a newer and more modern look. This focus on a modern aesthetic allows employees to truly take a break from work, while also allowing them to more freely mingle with others that are on break or passing through. Additionally, the better lighting, design, and open architecture of many modern micro markets cultivates a deeper sense of relaxation, allowing employees to return to work more focused and ready to accomplish their tasks. Modern payment system technologies enable convenient payment options including cashless, debit, and payment systems tied to employee badges and key cards.
3) Micro markets increase job satisfaction and employee well-being.
The creation of micro market in a workplace can have a significant impact on the overall happiness and productivity of employees. Micro markets give employees the ability to escape from their office or cubicle in a more complete way than an old school breakroom with vending machines offers. Alongside this, micro markets help ease the stress of having to drive to find a substantial and healthy meal while at work. This gives employees more time to actually relax and eat on their break, rather than spending that time on the road searching for something to eat. The aesthetic of micro markets is more relaxing and pleasant, while also passively encouraging employees to converse and form better workplace relationships. For these reasons, micro markets are creating a shift in many jobsites, away from the traditional vending machine and towards a more complete solution. With this shift, there are opportunities for both employers and retailers. Employers are able to ensure that their employees are well-taken care of, which will increase productivity and job satisfaction. At the same time, retailers and brand marketers can capitalize on this changing at-work channel to create new avenues of revenue and tap into a larger customer base.