Amanda Stillwagon

Amanda Stillwagon As Chief Marketer for Small Business Trends, Amanda oversees online marketing, email marketing and social media marketing for the Small Business Trends group of sites.

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  1. #2 is the one that delivers the return on investment. Think of how much you’re paying an employee per hour, then figure that a trip to get a snack will take 15 minutes. That drink or snack probably costs less.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    This post gave me arguments for my future service with a great tasting beverage, full of good stuff! Could you guess? It is tea! 🙂 See point 2…

  3. “At one point about six years ago it was estimated to cost Google over $70 million a year to provide free meals to its employees.”
    Not sure which location Stillwagon is talking about. At Google Mountain View headquarters they weren’t providing free meals to employees. They were providing free gourmet meals to employees. These meals were made by top flight chefs. At one point the former chef from the Grateful Dead was doing the cooking. The gourmet meals Google employees employ at HQ are just as good, if not better than the best gourmet restaurants in the Bay Area and that is saying something.

    Also, at Google HQ in Mountain View they offer free Naked fruit drinks (similar to Odwalla). Guests (like myself) were invited to drink as much as I wanted. Google employees don’t just enjoy 3 squares. They have a huge kitchen stocked, and I do mean STOCKED with breakfast stuffs. All kinds of cereals, little breads, milk, fruits, etc. An entire snack wall with all the pretzels, cookies, and snacks. Imagine the bulk food section at Whole Foods Market and put that inside Google.

    The whole place is decked out in lava lamps and retro styling. I saw a segway in the corner, and some scooters as well. Some exercise balls, etc. It’s more like a college dorm or frat house than anything else.

    Stillwagon failed to address one big benefit that free meals can bring: it attracts better employees. If employee is looking at 2 employers and everything else is equal, do you think they will work in a place where they can get free eats? Or the place with zero perks? I’m taking the free eats.

  4. I believe that providing food and beverages free of charge for your employees will be extremely beneficial as it can save a lot of time. This is because employees aren’t going out to get lunch (which they could deliberately take long just to waste time too) and it would also increase the quality of the employees being attracted to the business (as Steven said earlier). Thus, ultimately aiding your business’ productivity and growth positively. Yes it may be quite costly but in the long run, in comparison to the benefits that the company will receive, the costs will be negligible.

  5. The other thing is, if employees stay on site during breaks and lunch they have the chance to talk with people from different parts of the company. Sometimes really cool collaborations and problem solving can happen during social time in a way that can’t happen during more structured meetings!

  6. I think this is great for a very large company but not for small companies. In our case the offering of free snacks becomes an ungratifying experience by both the employer and employee. They do not appreciate the fact that the employer is taking time to bring these items at company cost to their work area. There has to be a line where doing these things is appreciated instead of demanded by employees.

  7. I have always wanted to work somewhere with a breakroom that actually provides snacks and beverages. I like your point about how it can also help your company stay healthy. I can see how providing healthier choices that are cheap and close by would be much more appealing than leaving the office to eat.

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