Office workers need convenience and proximity. They will not walk more than a few minutes to grab lunch, and even then, every minute counts. Here are some findings from a 2004 study completed by the International Council of Shopping Centers that support these conclusions:
- Office workers eat out, a lot. Approximately eight in ten office workers purchased their lunch outside their office at least once a week.
- Office workers choose carry out with significant frequency. 47% of office workers visit carry-out lunch destinations, like delis, grocery stores, and sandwich shops.
- Office workers need a quick turnaround. The ‘lunch hour’ is a thing of the past. Office workers now spend an average of 41 minutes away from the office for lunch. In fact, 40% take only 30 minutes or less for lunch. So if your local lunch destinations do not allow for a quick turnaround, office workers will take their business elsewhere.
- Office workers prefer to walk to lunch. Nine in ten office workers usually walk to lunch when the local options exist. If they do not, office workers will bring their lunch from home or hop in the car if that is an option.
What this means is that proximity, convenience and a quick turnaround time are key if a business expects to office workers to patronize them during lunch. So ask yourself, do your sit-down restaurants have a express lunch specials? Is their service speedy and responsive to patrons who have limited time to eat? Do they have a dedicated and short lunch menu that makes decision making simple and fast? These minor offerings can make or break their ability to meet the needs of the lunchtime crowd.
At the end of the day, proximity to office workers can end up being a life or death situation for local lunch destinations. A distance of 100 ft can be just a smidge too far, or a location across a busy street that takes too long to cross. These minor barriers can make a major difference between success and failure with the lunch crowd.