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hungerhub, a Toronto-based start-up, has used their platform throughout the pandemic to support local restaurants.
The company, which started in 2017, is changing the way offices across the city eat at work. hungerhub is an online-ordering platform that makes office catering highly customizable through an individual ordering system, and aims to be the new standard for lunch time at work.
By offering an individual ordering system, hungerhub eliminates open-air, shared trays of catered food often found in offices or shared working spaces. Their popularity can be accredited to, in wake of the public’s ongoing trepidation regarding COVID-19, the convenience and peace of mind with individually packaged meals. The concept, which they have titled ‘uncatering’, was developed in 2018, but the model has fit perfectly in wake of COVID.
“After the pandemic hit, nobody wanted to do catering with shared trays and wanted everything to be individualized and we were already built for that,” says co-founder and CEO Sari Abdo.
Obviously, most offices in Toronto are not operating with most of their employees working from home––but Abdo says that some offices require a few of their employees to safely work in the office, and they have been ordering through hungerhub nearly every single day.
While the entire concept has relatively been a success, and even more impressive given the current circumstances, Abdo is mostly proud of how his company has played a role in keeping Toronto’s small businesses up and running during a time of standstill in the industry.
“We’re a solution that is providing a lifeline,” says Abdo. “So many restaurants have come to us and said without hungerhub, they wouldn’t have survived the pandemic.”
The way the system works is an employer signs up their workplace to the hungerhub platform. Each employee receives a pre-established credit to use for their desired meal. The employees will choose from available restaurants on a given day––depending on the size of the office, a number of restaurant options will be given and are rotated weekly. Abdo says they have worked with offices as small as 20 employees and before the pandemic, upwards of 600 employees. Throughout the pandemic, the offices they have served have ranged between 20 to 160 employees.
The employee will be able to select a meal of their choosing, and customize it however they would like, similar to options available on other ordering platforms. The meals are individually made and packaged and will be delivered to their workplace at a designated time.
Customization is important, especially when providing meals for your staff, to take into account everyone’s personal preference when it comes to their food. It allows for an inclusive activity that tailors everyone’s food to each individual and considers diets, allergies and all other food-related restrictions.
With vaccines beginning to roll out this year, offices will quickly be up and running again, which will be a crucial time for hungerhub. Abdo is looking forward to being the first choice when it comes to in-office meals when people return to work, which is highly likely given their established, personalized order model.
He also mentions that their system can help people who have been working from home, for the better part of two years, transition back into the workplace.
“How do we rebuild the culture? How do we bring people back together? How do we entice people who have been used to working from home to be like, ‘Hey, you can also be comfortable in the office,’” he says.
“I think food is going to be a huge part in bringing people back together in the office.”
Learn more about hungerhub and bring 'uncatering' to your workplace through their website.