Offering free lunches for employees: how to handle logistics?


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We are a small startup of 12 people. Offering free lunches to employees is a perk that everyone enjoys, but has become an annoyance from the logistics standpoint. Everyone usually have different things they'd want to eat and coordinating this becomes a problem.

How do other startups handle free lunches? Would a better option be to just reimburse for whatever people spend on their lunch? One downside to that is the primary benefit to the company for offering free lunches (saving time) isn't realized.

Employees Startups Perks Logistics

asked May 20 '14 at 17:13
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William Pitts
14 points
  • I'd be curious to know the answer to this as well. It's a tempting perk, but actually implementing it is likely to be tricky. How do you handle food allergies? How do you handle people who won't eat certain things (like meat) for religious or personal reasons? This is a great question. I look forward to seeing the answers! – rbwhitaker 4 years ago

2 Answers


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If you're spending each day getting consensus on where to order food from, and then spending time getting everyone's order, you'll soon regret this perk :)

The simplest, and most optimal way, is to use a catering service like ZeroCater or Zesty. The menus can be customized based on any allergies people have.

Not everyone might like it, but that's the only way to go. You'll never be able to please everyone.

answered May 21 '14 at 14:05
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Nishank Khanna
4,265 points

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Assuming you're in the same building, do you have a kitchen? If so, considering going "old school" and making lunch yourselves.

It may seem like unproductive time - but it's good to step away from the keyboards and do something together.

answered May 22 '14 at 09:25
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Nick Stevens
4,436 points

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Employees Startups Perks Logistics