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9 Benefits of Providing Free Lunch to Employees

9 Benefits of Providing Free Lunch to Employees

As an employer, you would want to go the extra mile to build a productive working environment for everyone. Numerous ways can help you with this, but what your employees would value the most is a 'free lunch.'

Free meals are more than just an employee perk that is worthwhile to your staff. You, as an employer, as well as your business, can also reap positive results by including subsidized or free lunch in your employee benefits policy.

Providing free meals to employees has many benefits. It boosts their morale at the workplace, reduces turnover rates, attracts new talent, and enhances team bonding, among others.

Read on to learn more about the advantages of providing free food at the workplace.

Key Takeaways

  • Providing free lunch is beneficial to both the employees and the company.
  • It shows your appreciation for your staff and promotes productivity, which helps your company grow.
  • Meeting your team’s dietary needs is key, so provide food options, such as vegan, vegetarian, non-vegetarian, etc.

How Important Is Team Lunch?

Team Lunch

Team lunch is as important as team meetings or working together to complete a project within its deadline. It gives your employees an equal opportunity to:

  • Interact with their coworkers in a relaxed setting;
  • Communicate and share their ideas, discuss challenges, and best, resolve conflicts, if any;
  • Share their knowledge or work-related past experiences that could assist others.

Not to miss, team lunches can also spark everyone's creative thinking, thus generating fresh ideas.

Why Is Food Important in the Workplace?

Food is an important element of any workplace, due to its many benefits. Furthermore, providing healthy and nutritious meal options to your team is essential. A survey shows that over 90% of American employees wish to eat a healthier work lunch. Naturally, a well-fed and healthy workforce will be far more productive.

Timely meals in the office also remove the anxiety and stress about what to eat and from which place. Lastly, food also becomes a medium for regular team bonding sessions.

How Does Nutrition Influence Workers’ Productivity?

Nutrition directly influences workers' productivity. This is how:

  • It provides your employees with the required energy to stay focused all day long.
  • Nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, and antioxidants improve problem-solving abilities, memory power, and brain health.
  • Access to proper nutrition in the workplace means no mood swings, calmness under pressure, and motivation - three vital elements of productivity.
  • With the right nutrition, you can expect enhanced performance from your team, who will appreciate your care for their well-being.

Overall, the key to better workplace productivity lies in your employees' nutrition.

Related: Why Can Employee Benefits Help Your Company Grow?

9 Benefits of Providing Employees with Free Lunch

Business Lunch

From boosting employee morale and increasing your company's retention rate to attracting fresh talent and building team bonding, below are the top 9 benefits of providing your workforce with a free lunch.

1. Fosters a Positive Work Culture

Positive work culture is a must for any company to thrive. And providing your employees with nutritious free lunches at work contributes to a better company culture. It also shows your appreciation of their contribution to the business, which results in higher motivation among your subordinates.

2. Keeps Everyone Focused on Work

When you provide free food to your employees, they can focus better on their work tasks at hand. You also eliminate their worry about what to prepare for lunch every day or where to go out and eat during meal breaks.

3. Enhances Productivity

Showing that you value your team and their work contribution by offering free snacks, lunch, or beverages often makes them more motivated to excel in their performance. Your employees’ higher productivity, increased energy, and uplifted morale will surely have positive results on the overall development of your business.

4. Promotes Healthy Eating Habits

More and more companies outsource their food services and provide their staff with nutritious food options catering to various dietary needs. Be it a gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian lunch, you can promote or maintain healthy eating habits in your workforce. This way, they’ll no longer rely on unhealthy fast food from the nearest takeaway.

5. Helps Attract New Talents

Although free meals, as a perk, may not be on a job candidate’s list of priorities when it comes to their decision to join a company, it’s still an attractive incentive for them if in doubt. It can give you an edge over a competitor in the industry, who offers similar job conditions.

6. Increased Employee Retention Rate

According to a study by USA Today, 67% of employees feel happy and satisfied with their current jobs that offer them free food. And job satisfaction is, of course, closely related to employee retention.

Furthermore, job applicants consider a company's employee retention rate before accepting the job offer.

7. Establishes Strong Social Bonds

Establishing strong social bonds is one of the main benefits of providing free meals to employees. When everyone leaves their work desk, they can enjoy lunch together, socialize and get to know each other better. This also results in better teamwork, which can have a positive impact on your company’s success, as well.

8. It Can Be Cost-effective

Providing free meals to your employees sounds like a costly affair, especially because food items for the office are only 50% deductible (as of 2023). However, you can count on your staff to perform far better after a free lunch, which can translate into increased productivity and, thus, improved business profitability.

9. Improves Your Employees' Well-Being

A study shows that 1 in 5 Americans don’t take a lunch break. And skipping meals can result in an unhealthy and overly stressed workforce. Providing free food in the office can encourage your team to have some rest mid-work and get those needed nutrients.

A free office meal also positively impacts employees, who take a break and otherwise have to pay for their lunch.

The Importance of Food Options at the Workplace

Food Options for Employees

Providing dietary choices at the workplace helps you cater to your employee's nutritional requirements and food preferences. They can choose from specific meal options that align with their needs.

Whether they follow a specific diet, due to intolerance to dairy foods or because they’re vegans, it’s important to offer various food options at the workplace.

Your employees will appreciate having access to a thoughtful and inclusive food menu at the office, that’s for sure.

Take advantage of Cookunity’s reliable meal delivery services and enjoy thoughtfully crafted dishes, prepared with love by award-winning local chefs! Packed in sustainable packaging, our lunch meals are suitable for a range of dietary requirements. From diary-free and low-calorie recipes to vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, we offer a wide choice of food options for your convenience. Order now!

Best Inclusive Food Menu for Employees

Keeping every dietary need in mind is, of course, impossible, especially if the food in the office is free. However, you can still meet your team’s meal expectations with a small range of inclusive lunch choices that cover a broad spectrum of dietary requirements.

The best inclusive food menu can include:

  • Meat, poultry, or fish - suitable for non-vegetarians and those on a high-protein diet;
  • Vegetable dishes - suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and those on a dairy-free or gluten-free diet.

To help you create a healthy and productive work environment through your free or subsidized lunch program, the easiest thing to do is to partner with local food service providers, be it a restaurant or a meal delivery company. This way, you’ll contribute to your community by supporting local businesses and ultimately make your company’s social sustainability efforts stand out.

Related: Why you should replace all of your lunch delivery with CookUnity?

Food for Employees Ideas

Food for Employees Ideas

By offering a range of dietary options that exclude unhealthy fast food, you can foster a workplace culture that values your employees’ health and job satisfaction.

Presenting them with a thoughtfully designed menu containing nutritious food choices for free will pay off in the long run, as well.

Healthy Food for Employees: Ideas for Lunch

Healthy food is highly beneficial for the overall well-being of your employees and your company alike. Enhanced cognitive performance and increased energy levels, as well as improved productivity, which translates into your company's growth, can be all the results of a free, simple, and wholesome lunch at work.

Here are some food ideas for your employees’ lunch:

Healthy Food Ideas Health Aspects
Chickpea Buddha Bowl Vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, < 600 calories
Sesame Salmon High-protein, low-carb, gluten-free, < 600 calories
Pan-Seared Cajun Salmon High-protein, low-carb, dairy-free, gluten-free, < 600 calories
Mediterranean Spiced Shrimp with Romesco Sauce High-protein, soy-free, dairy-free, low sodium, < 500 calories
Lentil-Quinoa Rainbow Tabouli with Lemon-Herb Dressing Vegan, low-sodium, soy-free, < 450 calories

Benefits of Providing Free Lunch to Employees: FAQs

Q: Does Food Impact Employee Performance?

A: Food indeed impacts your employee's performance. It ensures they stay productive by having the required energy and focus.

Q: What Healthy Meals Can You Have at Work?

A: The list of healthy meals at work can be endless. Consider having fresh, locally sourced food that suits your dietary needs and contains plenty of micronutrients. Healthy snacks like veggies or fruit salads, protein bars, nuts, and seeds, etc., can top up your energy levels, too.

Q: What Are the Advantages of Eating Lunch With Colleagues?

A: Eating lunch with colleagues has several benefits. It improves teamwork, can relieve stress, boosts morale, and more.

Q: What Is the Free Meal Allowance?

A: A free meal allowance is the money you pay your employees to buy food. Many company owners offer monthly stipends for snacks, drinks, or lunch to their staff.


Providing free meals to employees gets the best out of them, ultimately benefiting the company. You can tap into the new corporate dining trends and set up a cozy breakroom where your workforce can enjoy lunch.

No matter if you outsource your office food to a meal delivery service provider or collaborate with a local restaurant, always prioritize your employees' well-being and go for healthy food options.