Work for Google, Get Free Food

The Lempert Report
January 06, 2017

But what does all that free food and snacks at so many of today’s new companies, and much of it culinary masterpieces, do to the employees’ waistlines?

In an interview with Fast Company, Maxime Rieman, director of product marketing at CoverWallet shared her thoughts, “You snack a bit, you eat the free meals, you stay a little late at work, and it kind of creeps up on you after a while." Rieman slowly gained weight at her previous job where a free lunch and dinner were offered daily and the kitchen was always stocked with high-calorie granola bars, crackers, and sweets. Since joining CoverWallet, Rieman has lost half the weight she gained because, she says, her new employer offers healthier choices such as nuts and string cheese. 

More companies are turning to free food as a way to attract younger talent says Fast Company. According to Jobvite’s 2016 Recruiter Nation survey, millennials reported they were more likely to get free snacks at work (35%) than to have medical coverage (29%), dental coverage (22%), or a 401K plan (21%). I guess deciding what’s important has changed a bit. 

Millennials often value the visible benefit of free food over health insurance, which is not as gratifying until you have an emergency, says Emily Farris, an office manager at Lucid Software, which offers its 170 employees two fully stocked kitchens with more than 100 items, including hummus, avocados, bananas, and a free catered meal on Mondays and Fridays. 

So what did Fast Company find that companies are doing? 

Many started ordering online from places like Boxed and SnackNation and are buying more fresh food and non-packaged items rather than sending someone over to Sam’s or Costco.   

And companies like GetMyBoat which offers free snacks and a weekly lunch, also has a focus on healthy living. Most team members order salads or healthier options for their catered lunches, and about half of the team works out at the same gym. 

BLASTmedia offers a personal trainer, who is available five hours each day, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The company spends about $3,500 a month on its healthy living initiatives, including the personal trainer and free snacks, and has just 20 employees.  

A new way of thinking for the food world about what motivates and keeps employees.