Is your cafeteria as stale as yesterday's buffet? Does your space send the message that eating is a task to be completed—and quickly?
Well, no longer.
The cafeteria can—nay—should be a fun, social place where employees build community ties, collaborate, and enjoy each other's company while doing something as natural as eating. Though some companies spend a fortune to make this happen and provide their employees with 100% free meals, it seems that most companies can improve their lunchroom atmosphere by simply showing that they have employee well-being at the forefront of their minds.
Here are my top 5 things employers can do to improve the cafeteria experience:
- Keep the cafeteria clean – no one likes eating lunch on grimy tables
- Keep the refrigerator clean – storing food is a perfect idea until you have to stack it on last year's science experiment that Ted from accounting left in there
- Make it not smell weird – nothing makes me want to leave the office on my lunch break like eating food in room that smells like a dumpster
- Don't overdo it on the lysol – on the flip side, eating food in a room that is still dripping with disinfectant is equally gross
- Take the trash out – why is the trashcan always overflowing and spilling noodles or italian dressing onto the floor?
See, it actually isn't that difficult to make the cafeteria pain-free for everyone.
All that said, some companies go the next step and create an intentionally well-planned and inviting environment that will help encourage employees to think twice about leaving. Below are a few examples from a wide variety of companies.
Airbnb's Naturally-lit Cafeteria
NUON's Modern Cafeteria
Virgin Management's Playful Cafeteria
Pinterest's Sleek Cafeteria
NFL's Clean and Well-lit Cafeteria
Clif Bar's Raw Cafeteria
Kixeye's Minimal Cafeteria
Evernote's Plywood Cafeteria
ASICS's Atrium Cafeteria
Adobe's Restaurant-style Cafeteria
Roche's Lounge Cafeteria
Microsoft's Hip Cafeteria
Google's Old-style Cafeteria
Abercrombie & Fitch's Wooden Wonderland Cafeteria
Yelp's Symmetrical Cafeteria
Sailthru's Industrial Cafeteria
Coca-Cola's Branded Cafeteria