BonCulina UK introduces a hybrid zero-subsidy ‘smart restaurant’ solution as ‘back to work’ drives demand for disruptive catering models

Catherine Jackson

Catherine Jackson

Other 11th May 2021
Catherine Jackson

BonCulina UK introduces a hybrid zero-subsidy ‘smart restaurant’ solution as ‘back to work’ drives demand for disruptive catering models

The new office staff split, with fewer staff working on-site and more staff working from home, means companies are challenged as to how they can retain in-house restaurant concepts at reasonable subsidy levels. 

As a response to this, global foodservice contractor BonCulina has developed its ‘smart restaurant’ catering concept. ‘Smart restaurant’ is offered as a zero-subsidy solution, one which cleverly combines a traditional manned service with smart retail technology. Unlike traditional office catering contracts, the concept is not reliant on a consistent footfall of diners to operate successfully and it can adapt instantly from feeding a few to a full workforce. 

Keith Pordum, managing director of BonCulina comments.
“While subsidies are increasing dramatically and caterers are leaving catering contracts BonCulina goes in the opposite direction. We are able to offer a manned service at zero subsidy through a fine balancing act between the human element of a manned service and technology. Most companies we talk to are convinced its out of reach, impossible and unrealistic to have a caterer on site as catering traditionally involved expensive equipment and labour intense operations but not anymore. BonCulina Smart Restaurant is a true game changer.” 

The easing of Covid-19 restrictions has created a seismic shift in UK business practises as companies embrace a post-pandemic hybrid working model. This follows announcements this month by major UK employers including BP who announced its 25,000 office staff are to work from home two days a week (The Guardian, 2021), and KPMG who told its 16,000 UK staff to work only two days in the office per week under its ‘four day fortnight plan’. The Guardian also states ‘Google anticipates 20% of its staff to work permanently from home in the future’. 

The impact of these plans on office and staff restaurants and catering services is set to be devasting. Pre Covid-19 traditional contract catering models, which rely on upwards of 70% capacity to break even or make a profit, are becoming unsustainable in the new landscape. 

The ‘smart restaurant’ catering concept combines a manned service with its BonCulina Anytime hot food vending technology, that requires less space and reduces food waste considerably. Its extensive range of high-end hot meals are carefully prepared by expert chefs and delivered in patented Torus Pak® straight-to-plate technology. This innovation ensures dishes are beautifully presented as if employees were dining at a conventional restaurant. 

To complement the ‘smart restaurant’ concept, BonCulina has also developed a 24/7 catering solution, BonCulina Anytime hot food vending solution, which is perfect for businesses which need to support staff with high-quality hot meals when they are working unsociable hours, such as night shifts, bank holidays or weekends. 

Alongside the BonCulina Smart Restaurant and BonCulina Anytime hot food vending solution, BonCulina’s ambition is to further enhance its catering offer to the B&I sector with the development of a solution which can cater for those employees working from home and in need of a tasty nutritious hot meal. The company expects to make a launch announcement in quarter two of 2021. 

BonCulina ‘Smart Restaurant’ and BonCulina Anytime are available now. 

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.