Back in the 1980s, if you were a young associate working at an investment bank, your firm would pay for your meals if you worked late. And, you always worked late. Always. That’s how things were. Firms worked their associates as hard as possible. And, to compensate them for their hard work beyond their salary, they got to eat a decent dinner on the firm’s dime.
Law firms in the 1990s started doing the same thing. The whole purpose was to keep their associates in the office and working hard. So, while the important partners left the office in time to get home for dinner, their associates were practically living at the office. Some of the larger law firms even provided lockers, showers, and cots to sleep on.
Things have changed since then. By the 2000s, tech companies led the charge of providing their employees with a free lunch. They weren’t motivated by getting their employees to work harder. Employees were working incredibly hard anyway. Instead, tech companies began providing food as a perk. It was a way of communicating a message about their corporate culture.
Today, the motivation behind providing food has matured. Companies routinely offer lunch as a benefit or LaaB. No longer a perk, free lunches are provided as a benefit.
The way LaaB is offered has also changed. Early on, companies like Google built lavish cafeterias where employees gathered to eat. That was the only option. Now, it’s easier for large and small companies to provide their employees lunch. Delivery options like Eat Club bring lunch to the employees. No large cafeteria necessary. And, everyone has the ability to choose their favorite lunch from a curated menu of delicious options.
Companies offer LaaB because of the benefits that flow back to them. LaaB enhances recruitment efforts by differentiating a company from its competitors. LaaB helps improve retention because it is one of the components that makes the company a great place to work. And, LaaB is a convenience benefit that gives time back to employees by encouraging them to relax and eat in the office instead of spending time trekking out to find something to eat.
LaaB has come a long way.