Who would have thought that there would come a time when employers would give their employees digital lunch vouchers”
M-Kula is a platform that gives employers the opportunity to feed their teams without having to set up a canteen , they use a digital voucher.
The platform is seeking to expand into Tanzania after setting up in Kenya and Uganda.
It manages and implements employee benefit and reward schemes that are used within a network of merchants who are affiliated with Apptivate Africa.
The company estimates that over 60 per cent of companies in Kampala feed their employees compared to 13 per cent in Nairobi.
A study by a United States based internet of Things firm, Highfive found out that apart from earning extra 30 minutes working time, free lunches boost employees moral, bonding mechanism and loyalty to the company.
“We are finding that providing food is a huge motivator to getting employees back to the office,” Apptivate Africa CEO Neil Ribeiro said.
The platform is helping to ensure that Kenyans are able to at least have access to meals at least one balanced diet everyday.
It is also uplifting the lives of many women who provide food especially in the informal sector.
Another study done by a food delivery service firm, Eat Club in 2014 highlighted six key benefits companies can get by providing lunch to their employees.
It found that 54 per cent of employees are likely to stay with the company if free lunch is added while 70 per cent are likely to recommend the firm to friends.
One of the benefits of sharing a meal is building of company culture.
When people eat together, they find it easy to create social bonds in any group allowing them to make connections outside their teams and departments.
M-Kula’s parent firm Apptivate Africa has been at the forefront in championing for a lunch programme for employees in Kenya, thanks to the Finance Act 2014 that exempted from taxation food offered to employees for up to Sh48, 000 every year, the equivalent of Sh4, 000 a month.
With over 600 vendors registered on the platform, it provides for a unique opportunity for organizations to a new tax-free incentive to their staff thereby increasing employee engagement and motivation.
Increased productivity is one of the benefits since it gives employees the energy to stay focused and motivated. With healthier staff, there are less likely to be application of sick leaves.
It eliminates disputes that arise between the caterer and employee on what was consumed removing the ill feeling that comes up in these situations.
Based on the Kenyan technology, it provides easy usage, fast transactions and secure payment systems that enables employees to have a quick and secure purchasing experience.
Ribeiro said that they currently have over 18, 000 employees using the platform and 70 per cent of them are transacting daily.
It is budget-friendly where employers can set a daily limit of your e-voucher making it a simple budgeting tool to ensure that they eat throughout the month.
Moreover, it is not an upfront budget to join the partnership.
Jack in the box, a restaurant app, gets you 15 per cent off on your first purchase that allows you to order and pay in advance skipping to the front of the line when you pick up.
Uber Eats, a popular food delivery app, offers you rewards once you sign up for Uber rewards.
You will also have the opportunity to start earning points every time you use the app or request a ride.
Aside from having platforms that offer free food, there are organizations that offer lunch and breakfast for their employees.
At Yahoo, a company based in the United States, the staff get to enjoy free breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This helps as one may never have to pay for a meal again in their life.
In Kenya, Ramco Group, a company with over 4, 000 employees and M-Kopa with over 1, 000 employees have signed up under the M-Kula platform to be able to feed them and improve on their productivity.
Employees will save up to 30 minutes of transit and wait times when they eat in the office as opposed to when they leave for lunch.
When you feed your employees, you will increase their loyalty thus retaining them.
When they stick with you, it will save you the hassle of employing and training new staff members.
Retaining employees also helps you to build a strong business brand, enabling you to attract the best employees in the market.