Creating a Lunch Culture for Employees

by Sanaz Cordes, MD | Founder & Principal

As employers, we will go to great lengths to promote employee bonding and happiness.  Hours are spent brainstorming, researching, and organizing company retreats, team building events, and other social outings. 


I’ll never forget a well-intentioned picnic that was meant to be an idyllic afternoon at a local brewery in the peaceful farmlands on the Midwest.  This event that took several weeks of planning and came with a steep price tag.  To my horror, it started to go sideways when we were attacked by a swarm of bees with a relentless attraction to stale Panera sandwiches.  Then, we all watched in disbelief as an explosive feud erupted between two employees disagreeing on the talent level of our local suburban orchestra – for the entire duration of the drive back to the office.


There’s a simpler way to promote employee happiness, health, and productivity: Free lunch.  Providing healthy, convenient lunches is one of the simplest ways to improve company culture and build a stronger team. 
 

It is estimated that more than 50 percent of employees eat lunch at their desk every day. This means countless missed opportunities for collaboration and socialization as well as a slow decline in morale, health, and, ultimately, productivity.


Additionally, providing lunch for your employees has a huge return on investment!  For example, an average lunch catered by a company like THRIVE Madison – provides calorie-controlled, delicious meals, sourced with local, organic ingredients for as little as $9 per meal.  Now, think about what a loaded, full time employee earns per hour.  Chances are that this $9 investment in is amply offset by the salary expense paid for the 90 minutes an average employee spends to go out for lunch.  Compounded with the loss of collaborative brainstorming and socializing proven to boost company productivity, the ROI is easily north of 4X!


Providing affordable, nutritious meals for your team promotes satisfaction at a lower cost than sporadic social outings.  It also provides a significant competitive advantage for recruiting and retaining good talent.