Facebook is currently using the same strategy that was used by high tech companies during the dot com era, providing food 3 times a day to its hungry employees. Facebook and Google are the only two tech companies in Silicon Valley that have a company owned cafeteria where food is provided to employees free of charge.
This tradition of feeding employees was initially started by HP back in 1950s when it first started giving out gifts to newly married employees and having free snacks and coffee. The philosophy behind this perk was that happier employees are more productive. Google was the first company in 1999 to take the philosophy one step further by having a resident Chef to cook meals.
Though Facebook is the new kid on the block, it competes with Google in many aspects and one successful strategy for Facebook has been to attract former and current Google employees. Almost two years ago, Facebook hired Google’s top Chef Josef Desimone who now serves 12,000 meals a week using mostly organic, sustainable products. Surprisingly, for the serious food lover, Facebook now offers cooking classes where the 50 member kitchen staff teaches employees how to cook.
The reason Facebook offers food to its 800 employees is to encourage them to work long hours. When employees know that they will get food at work, they focus more on work and less on thinking about what to eat or where to dine out. Facebook is not talking about the expense associated with offering quality food but estimates that it will generate revenues around $500 million this year that will justify having a small food expense.
Quality of food has attracted top talent to Facebook and has kept them working twice as hard. During lunch and dinner the cafeteria offers a “vegetarian entree; two main courses of meat, chicken or fish; a salad bar; two types of soup; and two desserts.” Apart from the cafeteria, mini-kitchens can be found throughout the building where people can pick up snacks and salads when the cafe is closed.
Mr. Desimone is one happy Chef because he gets weekends and holidays off unlike other Chefs who put in long hours during special occasions and weekends.
With High-End Meal Perks, Facebook Keeps Up Valley Tradition – NYTimes