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why provide employees lunch?

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

Feeding employees is a cost-effective way to improve productivity because it:

  1. cuts down on time away from work

  2. increases employee interaction

  3. grows the company culture

On top of this productivity, it allows you another route to create a meaningful and deliberate work environment—or rather—it helps you find more meaning in why you're doing what you do in the first place.

special note: these numbers are more meaningful at larger scales, so if you have less than 20 employees, the savings will be scaled down. To see if this option is right for you, contact us for a consultation.


1. providing lunch cuts down on time away from work.


There are two significant ways lunch cuts down on wasted time. The first is obvious: employees don't have to drive somewhere else to eat. A provided lunch can happen in any space using a buffet line or packaged meals. Within a minute of leaving their desk, the employee can have a plated meal ready to go and begin eating.

According to a study shown by software company Highfive, cost savings can be quickly calculated when you see the time gained when employees stay at the office. Here at Beehive Catering, our lunches run at a flat-rate of $9. To do your own cost-savings analysis, you can calculate using this price to see what you can save!


The second reason it cuts down on time away from work is that employees are more likely to eat a well-rounded meal at the right time. The Harvard School of Public Health found that when businesses spend $1 on employee health and wellness programs, they can expect a reduction of $3.27 in healthcare costs.


2. increase employee interaction with free lunch


Companies are turning more and more to techniques that increase employee interactions with one another, called: "serendipitous interaction." The best kind of collaboration is not always easy to plan or manufacture—so if you can increase the employee interaction in your organization across department lines, you increase the likelihood of innovative ideas being shared.

The inter-department interaction also helps your company avoid bad "silos," where different departments work on similar projects without communicating—resulting in wasted time on duplicate work, or worse, conflicting actions that take more time after to sort out. A free box-lunch or buffet for your office brings everyone together.


3. providing lunch for your employees helps grow your company's culture


A strong company culture helps your employees become brand ambassadors for your business. Instead of 'command and control' leadership—which can stifle creativity and productivity—a good culture and atmosphere will build loyalty and engagement. This study (results below), shows how much of an increase free food can bring to employee happiness.

Trust is a cornerstone of good culture. In an interview with Entrepreneur magazine, workplace anthropologist Kevin Kuske states:

“In the world of a creative economy, work is better with trust. It’s better with social bonds. When you’re trying to build trust, creativity and relationships, you want to bring barriers down and get people to start acting more neutrally and food is just a way to do that.”

4. overall meaning


At the end of the day, why are you doing what you do? If all you want is money, we've laid out how a free workplace lunch can help with that—but most people want more out of their work. A great way to find more meaning in your work is to build the community around you. We spend so much time at work, how much better it will be if we improve the relationships there? And some of the best community building happens around food.


For as long as humans have existed, we've come together to eat. Keep this tried and true tradition alive in your office.

Contact Beehive Catering for more information.