IAN FERGUSON: The benefits from offering staff meals


Ian Ferguson

Yesterday was perhaps the beginning of the holiday food season. No one underestimates the importance of food in the corporate environment. Employees come to work with food on their mind. They are either walking in with breakfast or stepping out to get it. By 11am they are ordering lunch, and by 3pm planning dinner.

With all the food circulating this week, and for this entire season, I began to consider what advantages a business might experience if they provided a new layer of benefit in feeding their entire staff meals on a daily basis.

As an employer, you would want to go the extra mile to build a productive working environment for everyone. 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 subsidised or free lunch in your employee benefits policy.

Here are a few benefits that come to mind:

1 Creates better 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 team.

2 Employees remain 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. Companies are increasingly outsourcing their food services and providing 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 will no longer rely on unhealthy fast food from the nearest takeaway. This in itself will positively impact your bottom line with fewer sick days and call-ins.

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 is still an attractive incentive for them if in doubt. It can give you an edge over a competitor in the industry that offers similar job conditions.

6 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, socialise 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.

7 You provide a business opportunity for an MSME catering or food service. Every company needs to have a strong focus on community development and corporate social responsibility. There is no better way to give back than empowering another professional in starting or strengthening their business by offering catering contracts to micro, small and medium-sized firms (MSMEs).

• NB: Ian R Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organisations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at tcconsultants@ coralwave.com.


Believer 5 months ago

It’s a good idea in my opinion if a separate area is created away from the work space where food is consumed. Nothing more unprofessional than walking into an office and being met by the smell of cooked food


Sign in to comment