It's no secret that everyone loves free food. In fact, 60 percent of employees agree that having food at the office makes them feel more valued and appreciated.
And while startups may have pioneered the free lunch perk, more and more companies are now realizing the benefit of providing free food in the office. So if you've been considering jumping on the free lunch bandwagon, check out these four services:
ZeroCater delivers family style meals to your office from local restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or happy hour. This service is all-inclusive, meaning you'll receive plates, napkins, utensils, serving ware and labels in addition to the food being provided.
One of the nice things about using this service is that each employee can rate restaurants and provide feedback on each meal. This can help ZeroCater better customize the restaurants and menus to your office.
However, restaurant catering can be pretty hit or miss. We currently use ZeroCater at our office, and some of the restaurants are great and bring enough food for everyone.
Others... not so much. Sometimes the food is bland or basic, other times not everyone likes what you're getting and occasionally there's not enough food for everyone (we have a lot of really hungry guys in our office!).
If you want to nix restaurants from your list or complain, you'll have to go through ZeroCater rather than the restaurant.
Currently, ZeroCater is available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Austin and Washington, D.C. On average, it costs $12 to $15 per person.
Forkable bills itself as machine learning for your lunch. Based on your preferences and dietary restrictions, Forkable will give each employee weekly recommendations for specific dishes.
With Forkable, everyone gets their own account and an individual lunch from any restaurant available on the platform, eliminating the issue of someone not liking the day's restaurant selection or not getting enough food.
Forkable doesn't list average prices on its website, but claims to fit any company's budget.
Right now, the service is only available in San Francisco (including Silicon Valley), New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Ah, Seamless. What New Yorker -- or for that matter, big city dweller -- doesn't love Seamless? In case you didn't know, Seamless also offers corporate accounts. With a corporate account, your office can choose one restaurant to order from, but each employee will be able to choose his or her own meal.
You'll be able to set a budget for each employee and preset a tip. If your employee goes over budget, she can pay the difference if she wants.
Corporate orders aren't group orders, so you won't have to deal with corralling everyone to order. Instead, employees must order by a certain time or they will not receive lunch.
We use Seamless at our office in addition to ZeroCater, and I like the flexibility that it offers. Plus, I don't have to worry about not getting enough food. However, some days the restaurant selection isn't great or most of the available entrees are above our daily allowance.
Seamless also serves a larger area of the country than the other services mentioned: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Cater2.me is similar to ZeroCater in that the meals are delivered family style by local restaurants, caterers and food trucks. They are also all-inclusive and can cater for breakfast, dinner, happy hour and meetings in addition to lunch. They are slightly less expensive than ZeroCater, averaging between $10 to $15 per person.
One different thing about Cater2.me is that any group of 10 or more people can order through the service, not just businesses, meaning you could use them to cater a party or special event.
Currently, Cater2.me operates in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Austin, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Miami, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.