That’s right. Lunch doesn’t have to be a time suck or an isolating occasion where employees eat solo at their desks. And you don’t have to wonder when your staff, after going off-site, will get back to work. One company found that snack and coffee runs alone accounted for 2.4 billion hours of lost productivity. Catered lunches improve productivity, workplace morale, employee health, and your bottom line.
Companies can save money—and make money—by offering a surprising perk: lunch!
A typical American office worker spends an average of $3,000 a year on coffee and lunch during the work week. For an employee eating out, an average lunch costs $11, but that per-meal cost can be lower when an organization provides catered lunch.
Save (and make) more money
You may also be able to save on your tax bill (discuss this with your tax professional first). When a business provides on-site food for its employees; unlike the 50 percent deduction for restaurant meals, that cost may be fully tax deductible*. Of course, some eligibility considerations apply for a full deduction, including:
Meals must be provided on the business’s premises
The meals must be available for all staff. Providing meals to select employees (such as management) could be only 50% deductible.
Meals must be considered a perk or fringe benefit that’s part of employee compensation.
Your budget or circumstances may not currently allow you to cater an on-site meal five days a week, and that’s okay. Figure out a catering schedule such as every Friday or Monday, that works for your business and budget.
The gains? Employees stay in the office, which means they will likely engage more with one another. That can turn into not only improved morale and company culture, but higher productivity.
Improve company culture
Everyone appreciates a free meal, and your employees are likely no different. Free lunch is a visible perk, and it’s a benefit you can offer at a lower cost compared to other benefits or perks. More importantly, it can increase employee happiness in the workplace (up to 30%, according to a WorkSphere survey) as well as contribute to a greater connection to the company. Typically, the more connected an employee feels to work, the more they are committed and productive.
Free catered lunch can also assist your recruiting efforts, especially among Millennials, the generation now comprising the largest part of America’s workforce since Baby Boomers. Quality snacks and lunches are important to Millennials, but it’s smart to expect anyone you interview to ask about your company’s food perks.
Work and success are about relationships, and sharing meals builds crucial interpersonal social ties. In a busy office, it can be hard for departments—or even employees in the same department—to communicate effectively and build stronger bonds. A catered lunch helps employees socialize, which leads to improved inter-department communication, say, between sales and marketing or IT and customer service. Not only does that deeper collaboration ease day-to-day headaches, it also incubates innovation, cooperation, and initiatives that build revenue and productivity.
Don’t want to think of it as lunch? Try thinking of catered meals as a core component of your company’s health and wellness program.
Instead of employees spending an hour (or more) away from the office, they could be on site, eating good food, engaging with one another, and discussing work issues and projects—all for the cost of lunch. Price out employee compensation over an hour for lunch, contrast that with what you may spend on a catered lunch, and examine the potential tax savings. The difference will likely surprise you—and show you a way to increase productivity, reduce costs, and bring improved innovation, performance, and revenue to your company. It’ll be time and money well spent—all for the price of lunch.
ZeroCater corporate catering and snacks services provide curated meals and snacks to companies for any office occasion. We partnered with a diverse range of local restaurants, caterers, and food trucks alongside a personalized selection of snacks, beverages, and kitchen supplies, all tailored to your teams’ tastes and dietary preferences. ZeroCater is currently available in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, Washington D.C. and Chicago. More About ZeroCater
You’ve taken your first step toward getting delicious meals for your office. We'll contact you shortly to set-up a free consultation so we can learn more about your office’s tastes and preferences. In the meantime, learn more about the latest food trends on our blog.
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