What do Bay Area eaters want for lunch?

Being in charge of ordering food for a group is always daunting. How many picky eaters am I contending with? Do I really have to think about vegetarians? And what about those pesky pescetarians? Where's the line between safe and boring and fun and risky? What day is it? Who's the president?? When you're ordering lunch for a group, it can sometimes feel like an uncomfortable round of Jeopardy.

But don't worry: we'll help you win that daily double challenge and the entire game, just like Arthur Chu.

While it may be impossible to know what each individual wants to eat on any given day (wait, I didn't know you were going low-carb this week!), it is possible to cover all of your bases and make sure even the pickiest of eaters is satisfied. First off, you need to know what people are actually eating for lunch. After 3.5 years in the biz, let's just say we can roll up our sleeves and lend a hand on this one.

Warning: some of these statistics may surprise you.


 

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22% of people order vegetarian meals

 

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17% enjoy a spicy kick

 
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20% eat gluten free meals

 
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10% are Paleo eaters (hint* - Eight Acres)

 
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25% are trying to keep the carbs down

 
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11% choose vegan options when it comes to their mid-day meal


We sure are a picky bunch!  And no, you don't need to repeat second grade math; the percentages do add up to over 100%. Some meals do double or even triple duty by falling into multiple categories (e.g. the vegan gluten-free caponata salad).

Now that you're armed with numbers, how does this make your responsibility as czar of office lunch less stressful?

Well, they say variety is the spice of life. So mix it up with a little bit of everything.

"Duh", you say. But skip the part where you just order 2 of everything, and instead go straight to the part where you check all of the necessary boxes. Vegetarian, gluten free, and paleo options are a must nowadays, and if your group is big, make sure to throw in a couple vegan dishes as well. And lastly, it never hurts to order based on user reviews and ratings. If 95% of people like a certain dish, chances are it's a safe bet. But take some risks and you might just win it all.

Happy ordering.