Workplace lunches have become synonymous with drab. The sad desk salad, the cold leftovers eaten hunched over a computer on a deadline. But they don’t have to be. New research tells us that co-workers who eat together perform better on the job, and there are a slew of other benefits, like building culture and strengthening relationships. If you’re looking to sponsor a company lunch, we’ve got ideas for where to order and how to do it DIY. Just try not to drool too much.
Why You Should Host a Company Lunch
It’s no secret that co-workers who know each other well work better together. It’s why we have terms like ‘work wife.’ Not to mention, heading to work each day is just more pleasant if you have a friend in the office. One of the most natural ways to build those close knit relationships is over a meal. As well-intentioned as employees might be, it can be hard to really get to know someone if they only communicate via email or when they’re asking to pass the stapler. Make it easy for them by hosting a group lunch.
2. Build Culture
It’s easy to write a mission statement that outlines company values of collaboration, innovation and teamwork. It’s not as easy to work those values into day-to-day tasks. One way to bring everyone together, whether to discuss those values or just to live them out, is a company-wide lunch. Try it out, and we promise that you’ll be closer to those aspirational goals.
3. It Looks Good
Some might call this cynical, but while you’re doing all that important culture building, you might as well let everyone know and post about it on social media. That way when people seek information about your company, say, clients or prospective employers, they’ll already have a positive impression about your office culture.
4. Brainstorm Sessions
Nobody said these company lunches can’t be productive too! Sometimes it requires getting away from your desk to have your best ideas. Articulating the problem to someone else, getting their perspectives and bouncing ideas off of others can help enormously.
5. Boost Morale
Everyone loves free food. Everyone loves a break from work. It’s a no-brainer! Giving your employees a nice meal break can help reinvigorate them so that when they return to work they’re not dragging their feet but rather energized and ready to tackle what needs to get done. Trust, food is a small price to pay to motivate your employees.
6. Encouraging Breaks Prevents Burnout
Though it may seem counterintuitive, taking breaks can actually boost productivity in the long run. When you’re exhausted and overwhelmed by a task, you probably aren’t working at your highest level of efficiency. And if your coworkers are diligently staying at their desks, you’re unlikely to break the mold and take a leisurely lunch. That’s why it’s up to managers to encourage these types of breaks, which can save employees from crashing and burning.
What Should We Eat?
So you know why you should host a company lunch, but you probably still need some office group lunch ideas. Look no further.
Who doesn’t like Tacos? They’ve become an internet sensation over the past few years, and for good reason. Not only are they a crowd pleaser, they can easily accomodate vegetarians, gluten-free people and meat eaters alike.
Transport the office to the cobblestone streets of Paris with these thin and customizable pancakes. They can be sweet or savory, hot or cold. What more could you ask for?
This trendy meal has been popping up all over lately, lauded for its health and versatility. The basics of a grain bowl include some sort of grain (duh!), preferably a healthy one, like quinoa or brown rice, protein options like chicken, tofu or salmon, veggies, legumes, greens, and sauces. These are portable, easy to assemble and don’t need to be heated up in the office. Grain bowls are a choose-your-own-adventure kind of lunch that are sure to please a diverse range of tastes. Plus they’ll fuel everyone for the rest of the workday.
Breakfast for lunch is a great option because there’s bound to be something for everyone. Vegan? Try a bagel. Gluten free? A frittata will do the trick. Looking for something indulgent? That chocolate danish is sure to hit the spot.
This is one of the easiest options, as it likely requires very little prep work. Just bring an assortment of bread choices, plus fillings like cold cuts, cheese, spreads like hummus, tapenade, or spicy mayo, fillers like roasted veggies, avocado, tomato and greens, and let everyone go to town!
Now this is the ultimate easy option. Everyone makes a dish, which they’d probably be making for themselves anyway, in just a slightly larger portion. Then you have a variety as large as your office, and everyone gets to try something new while saving money. It’s a win win.
If you’re looking to treat your employees, Panera has something for everyone, from soups and salads to sandwiches and mac and cheese (and don’t forget their amazing dessert selection). They’ll even do boxed lunches.
If you have a Wegmans near you, you probably already know how much people rave about this place. From their sandwich platters to their Taco parties and even sushi, Wegmans is not your average grocery store.
Catering options will vary by state and city, but why not support a local business? Whether it’s a pizza joint down the road, a bakery with great soup or a new Asian fusion place that will do a custom stir fry, there’s bound to be something worth eating in your own neighborhood.
Phew, that was a lot of suggestions! Let’s Review:
Why It’s Important
- Get to know each other
- Brainstorm new ideas
- Builds Culture
- It’s a good opportunity to boast office culture on social media
- Encourages breaks, which prevent burnout
- Study shows better performance for firefighters who cook and eat together
- Taco bar
- Breakfast for lunch
- Grain Bowls
- Pasta Salad Bar
- Sandwich bar
- Potluck/Swap Lunches
- Something Local