Workplace Trends: Stay Competitive by Offering Free Lunch

Job seekers aren’t the only ones who have to look sharp to prospective partners. Companies are under the same pressure to stay competitive in the ever-changing (and sometimes mind-blowing) job market.

So, how does a company stand out in a landscape filled with above-market salaries, generous vacation policies, and perk-laden campuses? What attracts top talent to your halls? Quite simply: a comprehensive benefits package.


As demand for skilled talent increases, so do company benefits

There’s good news for job seekers. A record number of U.S. recruitment managers expect to increase hiring over the next six months, according to semi-annual hiring survey conducted by DHI Group, a leading online career resource and talent acquisition platform for professional communities.

However, the demand for skilled talent has resulted in an even more competitive recruiting environment. Manpower in its 2016/2017 Talent Shortage Survey, reports that 40 percent of employers surveyed globally are having trouble filling positions, which represents the highest talent shortage since 2007.

Adding to recruitment pressures is the challenge to retain top talent. In “What Employers Will Worry About in 2017,” Dan Schawbel, Research Director at Future Workplace, points to a study conducted by his organization and Kronos that found “87 percent of employers said that improving retention is a critical priority for their organization.”

That’s not surprising considering today’s millennial workers, who now represent the largest share of the American workforce, change jobs more often than those of any older generation, reports Gallup in “How Millennials Want to Work and Live.”

What were once perks are now becoming the norm

Faced with increased competition to recruit and retain talent, many recruiters realize it’s time to think beyond salary when it comes to recruitment. DHI Group notes that more companies are paying for relocation in order to acquire talent and also have realized the importance of extended benefits like unlimited PTO and free lunch, as well as perks to maintain a competitive advantage. In fact,companies not offering perks are in the minority, DHI Group says.

And benefits and perks are equally important to job seekers. A Glassdoor survey attests to the importance of the overall benefits package, finding that 57 percent of respondents said that benefits and perks were among their top considerations before accepting a job.

In other research, Glassdoor examined how 54 benefits and perks correlate to employee satisfaction. Core benefits like health insurance, pensions, vacation and paid time off made up about the first third of the list, but employees also indicated their desire for non-traditional benefits. As an example, free lunch or snacks ranked 16th on the list; other “sexier” perks like company car ranked 19th and flexible work/work from home policies ranked 25th. Even more surprising, all of those benefits and perks ranked higher than a performance bonus, tuition assistance, job training, and professional development.

From an employer’s perspective, food in particular is not only a popular employee perk; a study found that it has the added benefit of improving team focus and productivity. The popularity of perks proves that sometimes it’s the little things that count to make employees feel valued and appreciated. As companies vie for talent, perks are helping companies stand out.

Find out how EAT Club, a leading provider of corporate lunch programs, makes Lunch as a Benefit (Laab) affordable for companies of any size. EAT Club is a virtual cafeteria that satisfies individuals to power teams. With EAT Club, companies can cost-effectively include office lunch as part of a comprehensive, competitive benefits package to attract and retain top talent. EAT Club serves tens of thousands of meals every day throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles—and soon New York. Learn more at