Free lunch at work: Is it worth it for businesses?
It is not a secret that Google ranks at the top of the list of best companies to work for, as reported by their own employees. And how could it be any different? In addition to their competitive salaries, these workers get a ton of perks and benefits that makes them a pampered elite worth of envy.
But nothing scores as high on the satisfaction scale as free food. Google features campus cafes, micro kitchens, and endless options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. According to Insider.com, free food lets employees "cut down on personal costs significantly," as told by a former intern and incoming full-time employee at their headquarters in California.
Google, however, did not invent this concept. Research shows that employer-provided food brings a positive impact and it is a smart investment for employers, and here are the main reasons.
1. It provides an opportunity for employees to mingle and relax. Nothing beats a shared meal to make people happy. Family meals, parties and shared dinners are usually the highlight of someone’s day. Gathering around food is one of the easiest ways to enhance social bonds and interactions, particularly in diverse groups, and where people working in different departments rarely have the opportunity to have a casual conversation and engage.
2. Employee’s might pick a job offer over another, based on perks. At this time in history when unemployment is at an all-time low, it is a challenge to hire and retain good, talented, employees. Sometimes an attractive salary alone won’t do the trick. According to a survey published by Peapod, 66% of millennials agree "If I found or was offered a job at another company with better perks, including availability of snacks, I would take it."
3. A free on-site lunch can boost the company’s productivity. Every day, right before lunch time, as employees get hungry [or even hangry], a lot of thought goes into solving the lunch situation. Where can I go that is fast? Will there be traffic? I forgot to pack lunch again. All these small worries add up and productivity takes a serious hit. These problems are not there the day you bring a free catered lunch to the office. Even the anticipation, from the time you announce it, to the time when it takes place, creates a boost in motivation and productivity.
4. A special catered lunch can be a strong motivator to reach specific goals.Remember during middle school when the class that raised the most money would get a pizza party? Most people remember. A sales quota, an injury-free month, a project completion benchmark, any goal-oriented accomplishment can be enticed by and celebrated with a company-provided team lunch. This is also a great opportunity for debriefing, celebrating and bonding for the entire team.
5. You don’t need a full-service cafeteria at your business to reap the benefits. Not every company has the budget or resources, like Google, to offer daily free meals to their employees. However, the benefits of a free lunch for the employees are there, even if it takes place occasionally. Most workers will see a monthly catered meal as a great perk, giving a big boost to their overall job satisfaction.
There is nothing like getting a free [FOOD TRUCK] lunch in America. Taco Bron has catered numerous company-sponsored lunches in the Denver Metro Area, and the feedback from the business owners and the employees has been eye-opening. “People are so excited when they get to the window and receive their food, and then gather in groups to eat, talk and laugh. It feels like a family celebration, but in the middle of the day, on a workday. It is very rewarding to see how my work makes others happy,” said Jonathan Tejada, managing partner at Taco Bron.