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Business owners are quickly realizing the benefits of showing a little extra love to their employees post-pandemic . . . and what better way than to keep them healthfully fed and fueled?

Two popular ways to provide refreshments and meals to your team throughout the day are office pantries and micro markets. These employee perks will help your business attract the best talent and build positive culture and morale. But, how do you know which one is right for you? Here’s the breakdown:

Office Pantry Services

Office pantries—also called free vend service—are designed to offer beverages and snacks free of cost to employees with all expenses picked up by the employer. Pantries have reach-in coolers and racks filled with drinks and snacks ready for team members to grab at will. Inventory and layout design can be customized according to budget, needs, and space requirements. This service is also a time-saver for multi-tasking office managers or HR directors, when they contract with a pantry service provider that takes inventory and restocks monthly, automatically.

Pros of Pantries:

  • Perfect to offer a snack or drink to visitors without the need to complete any transactions
  • Flexibility regarding how much a business owner wishes to invest and provide for his staff 
  • Pantries provide opportunities for spontaneous conversation and collaboration among staff to get the creative juices flowing
  • Free to users, so there are no kiosks, apps, or transactions to track; the company is simply billed for the cost of the food and beverages consumed

Things to Consider:

  • Pantries represent an ongoing investment since food inventory needs to be continually replenished
  • Consider installing security cameras to help to prevent staffers from abusing the service 
  • Shared touch-points like dispensers and refrigerators need to be maintained for cleanliness (Corporate Essentials can provide Nanoseptic film for high-touch surfaces as well as janitorial supplies)  

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Micro Market Services

As noted in a prior post, a micro market is a retail space with refrigerated cases that can offer salads, sandwiches, beverages, fruit, specialty coffees, and beverages for purchase by the employee. The market does not need to be staffed because all transactions are scanned and paid through smartphone apps. In our Essentials Marketplace & Café installations, we continually monitor and restock items so your team always has what they’re looking for (and you don’t have to think about it!).

Micro Market Pros:

  • Visually appealing with a large variety of fresh, healthy foods
  • A better option of providing grab-and-go meals rather than only snacks
  • Contactless process allows customers to select products and pay touch-free
  • Reasonably-priced meals allow employees to eat on site
  • After an initial investment, there is no further cost layout, and pricing could even provide a new source of revenue 
  • Management can elect to provide employees with monthly credits to spend or provide them as a reward or performance incentive

Things to Consider:

  • Setting up a micro market takes a more substantial initial investment than a pantry
  • If switching from free vend to a micro market, it’s essential to communicate the added value and improved selection to your employees
  • Subsidize employee costs or provide a meal allowance or coupons

Both systems offer significant advantages to businesses of all sizes. As workplace environments and employee preferences continue to trend toward less structured models with added flexibility, full pantry services and micro markets provide solutions to keep your team fueled and functioning at peak performance! We’re happy to help you determine which option is best for your business; contact us at 973.402.1088 to arrange a consultation.


The pandemic has created a new paradigm for how companies of all kinds will operate. Although the workplace is changing, employers have many tools available to meet the new challenges and create a safe, healthy work environment and foster employee well-being, wherever they’re working.

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Judson Kleinman

As the founder and CEO of Corporate Essentials, Judson set out with every intention of bringing a new meaning to the words "office culture". As leaders in the industry, his company constantly sets the bar by investing in, and improving their product offerings, technology, people and training. 20 years and 1500 clients later, Judson can proudly say that Corporate Essentials continues to positively fuel culture and allow over 150,000 employees to work happy.