Josh Harlow, an account executive with Oklahoma City-based Jones Public Relations, needed to go over logistics and heavy details with a client last week. So, the associates sat down together — at Kaiser's American Bistro.
“Sharing ice cream broke up the afternoon, and created a fun and collaborative environment,” said Harlow, a fan of Kaiser's Red Velvet Shakes.
Across town, Susie Hibbler, an embroidery specialist at Rookies sporting goods in Edmond, said her boss frequently cooks lunch for her and her other co-workers.
“It's great to have good hot food brought in, so we don't have to fight the lunch crowd and spend money,” Hibbler said. “It makes it much easier to stay on task,” she said, “and I think it shows how much we employees are appreciated.”
To Harlow and Hibbler, it's no surprise that a recent nationwide survey by Seamless.com food ordering and delivery service found food perks foster teamwork and increase workplace happiness.
About the survey
Of nearly 1,100 respondents who work for companies with 20 or more employees, 63 percent said companywide lunches would encourage them to eat with their colleagues. Sixty percent said they'd feel more appreciated and 45 percent said free food would strongly influence their decision to accept a job offer.
The eight employees of Moisant Promotional Products in Oklahoma City hold monthly luncheons — usually with a theme like Mexican, all appetizers or barbecue, owner Teresa Moisant said.
Moisant said the tasty tradition started two years ago after a staff member gave cookbooks as gifts. Some don't agree
At least two area workers don't believe in bringing unlimited food into the workplace.
“If you provide food too often, it stops driving positive behaviors, and the staff starts seeing it and reacting to it as an entitlement,” Kathy Budrich said.
A worker at Integris-Health said her boss frequently brings chocolate, candy or cookies to the office, and she and a co-worker don‘t like it. “It feels like she's undermining our attempts to eat healthily,” she said. “We'd rather have something like fruit or movie tickets.”
Sam Anderson, co-owner of Legal-Graphics Inc., said she tries to keep healthy food at the office for her work crew. “Our work is stressful and eating bad food makes the stress worse,” Anderson said.
Meanwhile, the downtown employees of Hall Estill law firm indulge in a monthly cake party, ordering the famous Strawberry Banana Cake from Leo's Barbeque or favorites from Nothing Bundt Cakes and elsewhere to honor birthdays and employment anniversaries.
“It is a great time for everyone to informally catch up on various cases and issues,” marketing director Kim Searls said. “Most of the firm meetings are held at the Petroleum Club, Cafe 7 or another restaurant. We find it is a productive time and doesn't take our attorneys away from client service,” she said.
Based on the survey by Seamless, 78 percent of employers regularly serve food at client meetings and events, but only 15 percent provide employees with food-based perks.