5 Questions With….Crafty Chief of Staff Jenna Ricks


    A Q&A with the executive who has helped Fortune 500 companies and food giants find their recipes for success.

    Chief of Staff Jenna Ricks out of Crafty Bay Office

    In our new series, we’re asking industry leaders five hard-hitting questions about the topics that are at the top of everyones’ minds. In this installment, we catch up with Crafty’s chief of staff to talk about budgeting. Read on for her answers and helpful tips for mastering F&B financial planning. 

    As we navigate through the ever-changing landscape of the workplace, it's becoming increasingly important to provide employees with a comfortable and welcoming environment. Office food service programs have become a popular option for companies looking to entice their employees back to the office. But at what cost?

    We recently caught up with Jenna Ricks, a seasoned expert in workplace food and beverage, to learn her top tips for crafting a winning office F&B budget for 2024. Jenna has helped numerous Fortune 500 organizations with their corporate food and beverage challenges, and she's become a trusted advisor on workplace consumption and employee engagement. 

    Ahead of her appearance at Beyond Coffee and Snacks: How to Craft a Winning Office F&B Budget for 2024 Jenna shares her thoughts below:


    How has budgeting for F&B changed over the past five years?

    2019 felt like the last of the golden years for corporate F&B spending. Companies were competing with luxurious benefits such as onsite meals, massages, you name it. These perks brought convenience to the workplace and created community and culture, especially food and beverage programs! Skip ahead to 2022 & 2023 – we’ve seen a pretty drastic shift in how companies are approaching food and beverage programs. For some companies, much of their workforce is hybrid or even fully remote. For others, it’s the food and beverage programming that is a big driver for the return to work push. Now, spending needs to be justified, and budgets are more closely adhered to. That’s why it’s so important to build a sustainable F&B program that aligns with the company’s culture and expectations.

    What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t know how to budget for a hybrid workplace?

    You’re going to see dips (my favorite is spinach, thanks for asking) and spikes! Try your best to identify an average weekly headcount and work with your customer success manager to identify a cost per head that is going to give you the employee experience that your office needs. Identifying your standards and setting the expectations up front is really important! You’re the expert when it comes to your company culture and office expectations, so don’t be shy in sharing that info when building the program & ultimately, the budget!

    Is it worth investing in budgeting software? 

    One hundred percent for all parties involved! Having visibility at the touch of a button is crucial to managing a budget! Here at Crafty, we’re able to see trends in spend to make informed decisions and recommendations for our clients. This is especially helpful when they have multiple programs and locations! We work with workplace teams, so we can compare headcount trends to budget analytics, allowing them to advocate for changes such as shifting funds from one location to another, doing a product rotation, or even changing service models.

    What should you do if you overspend on workplace F&B?

    There are many things you can do when it comes to budget remediation. Many workplace teams have flexibility within the quarter so that can really help when you have busier months – you can either reserve funds during the slower months or make up overages in the months to come. In addition, you can identify some priority products for your office. The “must haves” that folks will revolt against (peanut M&Ms, diet coke, etc.) and remove or limit stocking quantities for those higher spend items (dried mango, jerky, etc.).

    Do you have any funny stories about budgeting in your personal or professional life?

    When we were considering getting a second dog, we wrote a Pros/Cons list, and of course, everything on the cons list equaled more $$, but the pros list won because we totally justified things like: more love, Mia will have a brother to play with, more road trips because it’s cheaper than flying… In addition, being a proud dog mom, I can pretty much justify any amount of spend on the dogs with the fact that we don’t have human children and dogs are much less expensive, am I right?!? 😂

    One snack you can’t live without?

    Cheese 🧀


    To hear more of Jenna’s insights on F&B budgeting, tune into Beyond Coffee and Snacks: How to Craft a Winning Office F&B Budget for 2024 on September 21, 2023. The first-of-its-kind webinar is a can’t miss for leaders interested in breaking the employee experience mold, without breaking the bank.  

    Upcoming Webinar

    Beyond Coffee and Snacks: How to Craft a Winning Office F&B Budget for 2024

    🗓️ Thursday, September 21
    ⏰ 11 AM CT, 1-Hour Session
    💻 Virtual Webinar
    🎙 Ishan Daya, co-founder & co-CEO at Crafty
          Jenna Ricks, Chief of Staff at Crafty

    Crafty's food service budgeting webinar

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