Is on-site food the secret weapon for encouraging teams to return to the office? A recent article says that Fooda’s delicious and varied offerings might just be the return-to-the-office incentive that law firms across the country have been looking for.

As the article notes, until the early 1990s it was quite common for major law offices to provide restaurant-quality meals for their employees. While having a dedicated company dining room or cafeteria isn’t economically viable for many firms today, companies like Fooda can provide many of the benefits – keeping workers close to their desks, providing a novel meeting experience for clients, encouraging cross-company synergies – at a fraction of the cost.

Curious about what we at Fooda have to say about this topic? Here’s our take.

It’s no surprise that the last few years have been disruptive for Law firms. This is an industry built on trusted advice and strong personal relationships, and it can be difficult, or even impossible, to build those connections without in-person, face-to-face conversations. There’s also an intangible-yet-essential value to simply being in the office. Casual workplace chats and spur-of-the-moment brainstorming sessions can help to solve the most intractable of client problems, and those can only happen when bright legal minds share the same spaces. Every law firm, big or small, benefits from a return to the office.

Unfortunately, your associates and support staff may be dragging their feet about returning to their daily commute. That’s not surprising, but as a leader at your firm, you know that the best work can only happen when everyone is physically present at the office. As anyone in a mentoring role will tell you, it’s much more difficult to give quick pointers to a new hire in a virtual workspace. It may be time to use your firm’s secret weapon: The unarguable power of the law firm office lunch.

Not that long ago, on-site dining was the standard at large law firms. In the 1990s, for instance, lawyers and their clients would be expected to have two-hour “power lunches,” often prepared to gourmet standards, in the company cafeteria or canteen. This kept everyone close to the office, where those all-important informal meetings and 5-minute conversations could take place. 

While few would argue that this overhead-heavy law firm catered food model makes sense in today’s world, the best elements of it are surprisingly cost-effective to bring into any modern law office. There’s no better way to convince your staff to return their desks than by offering them a great lunch.

In fact, this concept is the foundation of an entire workplace food strategy that can gently (and persuasively) encourage staff to become more engaged with the firm’s office culture. By providing true culinary experiences, such as Pop-up restaurants serving food from your favorite local spots, your staff will actually be excited about returning to the office. Bringing everyone together over a meal is an exceptionally effective way to encourage team building, as it creates the “connective tissue” between various teams and departments. It’s a simple thing, but law firm catered food is a truly cost-effective method for helping your firm’s culture take root.

Better yet, these results don’t require an expensive company cafeteria vendor or even an on-site cafe. There’s no need for a high-cost, professional-grade kitchen. Any office building with a reasonably large lobby or meeting area can easily reap the benefits of the modern law firm office lunch.

fried chicken, tacos, bahn mi sandwiches

Imagine bringing in a catered meal from one of your city’s most popular local restaurants, all set up in an unused corner of your firm’s lobby. Perhaps it’s an iconic fried chicken place, a neighborhood favorite taco joint, or an award-winning gastropub that your firm’s dedicated foodies talk about with genuine reverence. It’s hard to imagine your staff turning down the opportunity to come into the office for food like that, isn’t it? This also presents an excellent opportunity to invite high-value clients, and even potential clients, to drop by for a casual business conversation over a delicious meal. Suddenly, those otherwise vacant desks are full, the lounge and meeting room seating is at capacity, and the office is abuzz with vital workplace conversations.

This is exactly the experience that Fooda likes to create for clients. The ready-to-serve food is brought in and served by restaurant staff, and they handle all the details and cleanup. Having a company event? Let Fooda cater it. The variety of meals is only limited by your area’s local food scene. The participating restaurants are also hoping to win repeat business and loyal customers, virtually guaranteeing outstanding quality and service. Even law offices that still have traditional cafes (or even cafeterias) can benefit from the variety and excitement of new on-site dining experiences that Fooda provides.

If this sounds like the exact type of workplace perk that your law firm needs to encourage staff, associates, or even a work-from-home loving partner to feel some excitement about returning to the office, it’s worth having a conversation with the team here at Fooda. Not only is our service more cost-effective and flexible than traditional law office catering, but it’s also the most delicious option.