Oct 12 2017
Renee Frojo
3 Minutes to read

It might be notoriously difficult to describe, analyze or even alter, but company culture is critical to the success of any business. Your company culture reflects your organization’s vision, values, and goals. And, it’s a great aid in recruiting and retaining top talent.

Improving your company culture can happen in a lot of different ways. But if you haven’t thought about using food as a tool, it’s time to start. On the simplest level, a catered lunch gives your team a reason to get excited for meetings. A themed companywide dinner party fosters collaboration. If you’re well-fed, you’re ready to generate new ideas for big projects or business leads.

Here are a few new ideas build and improve company culture with food.

Offer a Social Hour to Beat the Afternoon Slump

Cater a social hour to boost the team's energy

In between lunch and the end of the day can be a tough few hours. It’s not called the afternoon slump for nothing. Your team is already looking for a quick distraction. So why not use this time to treat everyone to a little something special? You could bring in an ice cream social on Fridays or a cookie platter on Wednesdays. A little afternoon social hour (with treats) doesn’t have to be big or expensive. But it’s something everyone will look forward to, whether it’s once a day or once a month. And, once it’s over they’ll have the energy and enthusiasm to power through the rest of the day.

Cater a Picnic Meeting Lunch

As Forbes points out, getting out of the office and outside has proven to increase productivity. Hosting a catered meal at the nearest park or picnic bench could be a fun and effective way to jazz up a run-of-the-mill boardroom lunch. Your team will have an opportunity to leave their desks and they’ll get some fresh air and loosen up. Plus, a little vitamin D may be just what everyone needs to fuel new ideas and connections with their coworkers.

Host a Themed Dinner or Outing

If your idea of employee appreciation is a sheet cake social in the office before the holidays, think again. There are so many creative ways to create a themed dinner or outing. Maybe it’s a summer carnival night. Or maybe everyone heads to the food trucks for dinner and drinks. Or it could be a surf and turf winter celebration. These dinners are not only fun, they also promote teamwork. You never know what kinds of ideas might come out of a night where everyone’s a bit more relaxed. And these outings don’t have to break the bank. All that matters is you’re bring people together in a different setting.

Coordinate a Potluck

Any excuse to get everyone out of their cubicles to create something together is a good one. A regular quarterly (or monthly, if you’re up for it) potluck will give employees something to look forward to. You can keep it relaxed and allow everyone to bring store-bought dishes. Or, you can be more formal with a specific theme like Mediterranean or Italian food. Change it up. It gives your team an excuse to show off some unknown culinary skills or just to join in on something new. Building a meal together will spark creativity, camaraderie, and work toward improving company culture.

Organize a Food Drive for a Local Charity

Volunteering is a great way to build team spirit. And everyone will feel more connected and emotionally invested in a company. Organizing a food drive for a local nonprofit is a small way to contribute. You could even deliver the food goods as a group, or take a day off to go volunteer at a soup kitchen. What matters is that you’re doing it together.

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Renee Frojo

Written by:

Renee Frojo

Renee Frojo is an award-winning journalist, photographer, food stylist and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With equal time spent in and around the kitchen, Renee’s writing focuses on food, restaurants, hospitality and sustainability. Her writing and photography has appeared in a number of local and international publications, including Eater, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Business Times. Her latest musing on food can be found at www.laurelstreetkitchen.com.

Posted in: Food at WorkTraining

Tagged with: Catering