Today is Employee Appreciation day, a time to celebrate successes and acknowledge all the great work being done. But let’s be honest—it shouldn’t come down to a single day to show appreciation to the hard-working teams contribute to company success every single day.
Showing employees appreciation doesn’t have to mean grand gestures. It can be simple things like a comfortable workspace with user-friendly tools that make work easier to top-notch benefits and perks that create an unparalleled company culture. And, an often overlooked appreciation method is food, especially office lunch.
Anyone who’s worked in an office setting knows: Getting lunch at work sucks. It can be a chore to find something satisfying, and sometimes it gets skipped altogether. There has to be a better answer to “What’s for lunch?” than a cafeteria, vending machine or an office park deli.
EAT Club co-founders Kevin (left) and Rodrigo (right).
The dismal state of workday lunch is what triggered the idea for EAT Club. We spoke with EAT Club founder, Rodrigo Santibanez, about why he and his co-founder Kevin Yang wanted to solve the office lunch problem—and the benefits it has for companies.
Finding a better way to do lunch
When people ask Rodrigo what he does for work, he responds “I deliver lunch to offices.” He says the next question is usually, “Really? By yourself?”
He answers, “Well initially, I did deliver them by myself, with the help of Kevin, my co-founder. Then after a few months we hired our first employee. Now we have an awesome team of 700+ people that help us deliver lunches to thousands of companies every day!”
It all started from an idea the duo had at Stanford Business School after studying a Japanese company that delivers bento boxes to Tokyo offices and the Dabbawalas, an Indian delivery network that delivers hundreds of thousands lunches from homes to offices in Bombay. Inspired by these two models—that didn’t use modern technology to power their impressively accurate delivery systems—they started working on EAT Club.
Rodrigo also recalled his pre-business school working life and how painfully difficult it was to get lunch every day. He lamented the familiar situation: you’ve been working at the office all morning and suddenly you realize it’s already noon. You have a 1 p.m. meeting that you can’t miss but your stomach is screaming for fuel. You hurriedly leave the office in search of food, but you stop because you don’t know what you want to eat or where you’ll get it.
Setting the table for the office lunch programs
It took a lot of sweat and tears to bring the idea of EAT Club to life. Initially, Rodrigo and Kevin sold to consumers in office parks, delivering one meal at a time. They had no investor backing and bootstrapped the business, funding the business on their own and stretching every dollar. Read Rodrigo’s tips on how to bootstrap your startup
Fast-forward a few years, and a different need emerged. They learned that companies—not just individual consumers—needed a solution for office lunch. Human Resources administrators were reaching out looking for “company-paid lunch programs” for their employees, especially since companies like Google and Facebook were making employee lunch an expected benefit of the workplace.
So they pivoted their business model, risking the whole business they had built till then. The pivot would not only boost EAT Club to success, but also provide even more tangible and significant benefits to businesses.
Realizing Lunch as a Benefit
Lunch as a Benefit is what we call it when companies provide free or subsidized lunch to their teams on a regular basis. Why is it a benefit? Just like traditional benefits such as 401K, healthcare, parental leave or work from home flexibility, lunch is next most sought-after benefit for companies to offer their workforce. Providing lunch:
- Helps build a collaborative work environment, leading to better working relationships and company culture. According to Cornell University, colleagues who lunch together are more effective collaborators and more likely to build friendships.
- Attracts and retains top talent, and remain competitive during recruitment. Glassdoor’s survey found that 57% of candidate consider a company’s benefits package before they accept a job. And EAT Club's survey says that 70% of employees with food as a benefit would recommend their company as a great place to work.
- Supports a healthy work-life balance. While this is one of the more obvious benefits of having lunch at the office, it actually goes much deeper. Not only does it give them back 30-60 minutes of their days, but it allows for flexibility in schedules and choice that keeps employees satisfied, happy, and productive.
- Impacts health & wellness. 40% of workers say that having food at work would reduce their overall stress. Plus, you can help your teams make healthier choices, boosting their overall wellness. This translates to more engaged employees, reduced absenteeism, and lower healthcare costs.
- Boosts employee morale. According to our survey, 60% of employees would be happier if they had food at the office. And of course, keeping employees satisfied if a top priority in showing your appreciation!
Sounds like a delicious way to show your employees appreciation, right? Learn more about Lunch as a Benefit programs at EATClub.com.