Question Of The Week: Can Office Food Improve Workplace Culture?

More than a third of employees rank office food as one of their top three office perks, alongside vacation time and professional development, finds new research from ZeroCater.

Low unemployment rates have made recruitment and retention of top talent a challenge, leading many employers to focus on creating a safe and happy work environment for their teams. A survey of 100 employees and office managers was recently conducted by ZeroCater to better understand the role food plays in a company’s culture, and what matters when it comes to office meals and snacks.

office food
According to ZeroCater’s findings, 90% of employers say that office
meals help their employees build stronger relationships with their colleagues.

Key findings of the survey:

  • When asked how happy they were at work, 75% of employees said they were at an 8 or higher, with 10 being the highest level of happiness. Nearly the same percentage (74%) of employees polled have access to free meals and snacks in the office.
  • With collaboration being a key conduit of productivity, 90% of employers say that meals help their employees build stronger relationships with colleagues.
  • Unemployment rates are at their lowest, leading to the recruitment and retention of top talent being more competitive than ever. For employers, shared meals are an integral part of the onboarding process, with 79% viewing meals as a way for new employees to meet their coworkers; and 67% say meals are a part of their retention strategy, giving employees a reason to stay at their company.
  • Efficiency is key now more than ever, with 88% of employers saying meals save their employees time by not leaving to find lunch.

Employees Value Access To Food At Work

When looking at their overall employee benefits and office perks, more than a third of employees (38%) rank office food as one of their top three office perks, alongside vacation time and professional development.

office food
  • Employees consider it important for their employers to provide food in the office, with 88% considering snacks important and 78% saying the same of office meals.
  • Time is precious, with 70% of employees saying office meals save them time venturing out to find lunch.
  • With finances on their mind, 76% of employees consider office catering to be a money-saver.

For employers who are ready to take the leap with a new food program for their office, or even for those looking to reinvigorate their current office perks, the aspects of food that matter to employees might be surprising.

Employees are more health conscious than ever:

  • According to 65% of employees, having access to healthy snacks in the office is very or extremely important, with 53% saying office snacks help them stay healthy.
  • When it comes to dietary restrictions and preferences, 55% of employees said it was very or extremely important to have office meals that cater to their preferences.
  • 41% of employees want to know where the ingredients in their office meals come from.

Finances are on their minds:

  • 26% of employees say they save an average of $50 or more per week with office meals.
  • 35% of employees say they save more than $20 per week on office snacks.

Variety and rotation matter:

  • The quality of the meal and variety of cuisine type are the two most important attributes of office meals for employees.
  • When evaluating office snacks, employees ranked variety (56%), full shelves (47%), and healthy snacks (65%) as most important.

Are employees in your facility provided access to snacks and meals? What kind of food program is in place, and how does it factor into your workplace culture? Share your thoughts, experiences, or questions in the Comments section below.


  1. Absolutley, the whole structure of eating together builds that family. Also the giving in bringing things to help enhance our fellowship is the best.

  2. We are a small office and do not have a employer food program. We have created our own. We have regularly scheduled Pot Lucks mid-week. then all leftovers are kept in the office refrigerator and we eat for another one to two days. We limit the individual spend to what they would normally spend on 2 lunches. Sometimes 2 or 3 combine to make a really nice main dish. It is not meals all the time but the sharing and sitting down to eat together really bring us together as a “family”.

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