The Power of Workplace Meals: Boosting Productivity and Building Connections

Eating together at work offers numerous benefits for both employees and employers. Beyond nourishment, communal lunches can foster stronger relationships, enhance engagement and inclusiveness, improve wellness, and boost team morale. A study conducted by Cornell University found that encouraging employees to eat meals together, much like the camaraderie found in firehouses, can lead to increased productivity1. In this article, we explore the advantages of workplace meals and how companies can leverage them to create a positive work environment.


Workplace meals as an investment: According to the Cornell study, funding cafeterias and catered meals can be viewed as investments in employee performance1. By measuring and optimizing the indirect benefits of communal eating, such as improved team dynamics and organizational benefits, employers can enhance work-group performance.

The impact of communal meals: The study conducted in a fire department revealed that platoons who ate together regularly received higher performance ratings compared to those who did not. Eating together fosters a sense of intimacy and social bonding, which can spill over into improved collaboration and work outcomes.2 This finding suggests that organizations in various industries can benefit from encouraging employees to eat together.

Importance of meal breaks: Taking a break from work to enjoy a meal is more than just a chance for nourishment. It provides an opportunity for employees to disconnect from work-related tasks, promote mindfulness in eating, and make better choices for their well-being. By allowing employees to focus on themselves during meal breaks, companies can promote overall wellness and better work performance.2

Perks of eating lunch together: Eating together offers a range of advantages. Firstly, it allows employees to take a relaxing break away from their desks, leading to improved focus and productivity. Additionally, communal meals promote social relationships, creating a more inclusive and pleasant work environment. Networking opportunities and the chance to learn about colleagues’ expertise and office dynamics further contribute to a collaborative and engaged workforce. 3

Free meals as a return-to-office perk: As companies transition back to the office, providing free meals can help ease the adjustment and increase employee retention. Such perks can also enhance the company’s image, particularly when shared on social media. Offering complimentary meals has been found to make employees more likely to consider a new employer, highlighting the competitive advantage of this benefit.2

Cost-effectiveness of workplace meals: While providing food at work incurs additional costs, it can ultimately be cost-effective. By eliminating the need for employees to leave the office for snacks or coffee breaks, companies can increase productivity and reduce the time and costs associated with employees’ external food choices.3

Conclusion: In today’s evolving work landscape, the benefits of workplace meals remain significant. Encouraging employees to eat together not only improves productivity but also fosters a collaborative and inclusive work culture. By investing in on-site meals and recognizing the value they bring, companies can demonstrate their appreciation for their employees’ contributions and create a positive work environment that attracts and retains top talent.


1Groups that eat together perform better together | Cornell Chronicle

2How Eating Together Benefits Co-Workers (

3The 4 Benefits of Providing Free Food at Work (


By Ilona Balcere, Customer Success Specialist



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