The 2024 Workplace: Elevating Experiences with Local Food

Complete with the latest 2024 employee survey data and trends, this guide is designed to help you transform your workplace into one that resonates with the expectations and values of today’s modern workforce.

Is there anything employees love more than when their company picks up the tab for lunch? It may seem like a small thing, but benefits of free food at work shouldn’t be overlooked by today’s employers. A free meal isn’t just a nice perk. It shows that your company cares about its workers, and that their daily efforts and contributions are truly appreciated.

In this article, we’ll tell you about the five biggest benefits of free food at work for your company and your employees.

1. Free meals are an employee-retention magnet

According to USA Today, simply providing free food to your employees can result in a 67% job satisfaction rate. It shows that the company is serious about creating a supportive environment for its workers. As a result, company-paid lunches are seen as a major perk that’s hard to give up, particularly for Millennials.

2. It can give a big boost to productivity

As lunchtime approaches, your workers start to become less focused as they begin to think about the logistics of getting their next meal. What restaurant will they go to? What route will they take to avoid the worst of the lunch-rush traffic? Will they have time to dine in, or will they need to eat fast food in their car just to get back in time? Are they carpooling? Across the company, all of these little worries add up, creating a serious drag on productivity. By providing employees with a free meal at the office, you’re doing more than simply sating their hunger. You’re removing a major source of distraction.

3. Company-provided meals are a surprisingly affordable benefit

When thinking about the benefits of free food at work, it can be helpful to think in terms of real-world costs. Providing a daily, $10 meal to a full-time employee costs the company $2,600 a year. If your company pays $40 an hour to a typical employee (factoring in the cost of benefits), and you lose a mere 15 minutes of their on-the-clock productivity before and after lunch every day, a free-food meal plan effectively pays for itself.

4. Sharing a meal is great for building company culture

When it comes to bringing a diverse group of people together, it’s hard to beat a free meal. Eating together is also one of the easiest ways to create strong social bonds in any group, allowing them to make connections outside their teams and departments.

5. Even the occasional company-provided lunch can yield big results

While not every company has the budget to afford a free daily meal to their employees, the benefits of free food at work are still within reach for almost every business. Most workers would see a once-per-week catered meal as a great perk, for example, giving a big boost to their overall job satisfaction. Providing free coffee and bagels in the morning is another excellent option, particularly for companies with plenty of time-crunched parents or commuters on their payroll.

The benefits of free food at work are hard to ignore. It’s a truly cost-effective way to improve everything from job satisfaction to productivity for your employees. Today’s employers have more options than ever — from food delivery services to on-site pop-up restaurants — for providing delicious, authentic meals to their employees.