Corporate culture is not changing—it has already changed. Employees are biking to work and showering in the bathrooms; people are conferencing on couches; and more and more companies are seeing the value in providing meals for employees. Is it a perk? Of course, but it also dives much deeper than that.
Historically, meal-sharing, or in layman’s terms, eating, has been a social practice. The first record of a shared meal date back to eighteenth-century France. Today, people eat together every day. From coffee check-ins to lunch dates, to happy hours, everyone’s a little merrier when he or she is well fed.
Sharing meals, at its core, boost morale, encourages people to get to know one another, and mandates employee interaction. It also serves as an incredible social outlet smack dab in the middle of the day or week.
According to Derek Pando, Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, “every other week or so [he] eat[s] breakfast with a colleague that works in a completely different part of the company…” There have been many times after chatting about what they’re working on where Derek will go back to his team and talk about how what they’re doing will impact his group. For Derek, “this informal channel to share company information breaks down silos that can exist as companies grow.” As compared to the “four trillion” power lunches of times past that Gil Schwartz, CCO for CBS Corporation, has attended, information is more easily passed and informally shared. This is much costlier and time efficient than the former times, where only “four or five lunches had actually produced significant gain [for Gil] or the company.”
The future is now, people! Sharing meals translates into a stronger culture, information sharing, and strengthening bonds between employees. As companies scale, it’s crucial to bring people together. What better way to bring people together than around food? As Elsa Schiapaerlli so eloquently put it, “eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.”