I ran across this article the other day on LinkedIn about “A Once-Rare Office Perk Takes Hold”. It’s about a growing number of companies offering free or discounted food to employees. Interesting read. But I must admit that when I see these articles, I don’t have the same reaction of “Wow! Companies offering free food!” because I worked in industries where a free meal was the norm.
Offering free meals as part of employee perks is definitely a nice thing to do. Especially when employees:
- Make minimum wage or just above it
- Are scheduled wacky hours, where there might not be an option to go out for food
- Don’t have access to an employee breakroom, where they could refrigerate or reheat their meal
- Work in expensive cities where the cost of going out is prohibitive
Organizations that include meals in an employee perks package have to think about what types of food and the nutritional value of the food that they will offer to employees. I can tell you from experience that “menu complaints” were a regular workplace issue. Also, how those meals are going to be prepared (i.e. staff, sanitation, costs, storage, etc.) I recently saw in the newspaper a company’s employee breakroom receive a warning from the health department for sanitation. (Can’t imagine that helps the company’s recruiting and retention efforts.)
So, what do you think? Is free food really the new “must-offer” perk? I hope you’ll take a moment to complete one (or both) of these survey questions.
I think it will be interesting to show these results side-by-side. Again, I hope you’ll take the time to answer and share the poll with your networks. I’ll post the results in a couple of weeks.
Organizations are looking for ways to stand out in the crowd. And free food could be one of those ways. While I don’t know that free food creates employee engagement, it might set a company apart from the competition. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say on this one! Thanks.15