Research Proposal Impacts of Free Food at Work


Impacts of Free Food at Work

Employers are constantly seeking new strategies to improve theirworkplaces. These strategies include salary increments, bonuses,promotions and vacations for employees. It is very important thatemployees are constantly rewarded for their contributions in acompany, to enhance their morale and productivity. Another strategythat is gaining recognition is employers giving free food at work. Itis not common for people to work in offices where they receive lunchor snacks at no extra charges. But, the practice has been implementedby some companies, like Google. Such companies acknowledge that thepolicy enhances the productivity and morale of their employees. As aresult, this has prompted the need for extensive research, todetermine what impact free food has at places of employment.

Statement of the Problem

Bearing in mind that many employers have not implemented the freefood policy, it is important to conduct this research so as to informemployers on the impacts of free food at work.

Purpose of the Study

The study is important because it summarizes significant literaturerelated to the topic under discussion. By explaining in detail someof the benefits of free food at work, the study encourages employersto introduce the strategy in their organizations.

Research Question

What impact does employer provided food, have in the workplace?

Literature Review

Research has already been conducted on the effects of free food atworkplaces. Using the diverse perspectives of different authors onthe topic, this review elaborates on the impacts at length.


Free food enhances employee productivity because it motivates themto put more effort in their work. According to Friedman (2014), whenpeople contemplate on the factors, which enhance workplaceperformance, food is never given the consideration it deserves.However, Friedman (2014) acknowledges that “for those of usbattling to stay on top of emails, meetings, and deadlines, food issimply fuel” (p.1). This means that when food is readily availablefor employees, they do not have to worry about eating and they remainenergized, which resonates to more work effort. The finding issupported by Ammex Isupport Corporation (2016), which explainsthat when workers are provided with free food, they stay in theoffice all day. Hence, they are able to complete all their tasks intime, which enhances productivity. In addition, with free food,employees focus on their work as they do not have to plan on what, orwhere to eat lunch, lining up to buy lunch, and having to hurry backto work in time.


Morale refers to the drive to work. It is important for employees tohave the urge to work, because it ensures that they put more effortin their tasks. Baldoni (2013) explains that a happy workforce caneasily be created by providing employees with free food. The authorsummarizes a study conducted by “Seamless”, a delivery as well astakeout service, on 1200 workers, which concluded that “60% of thestudy participants said that having company-provided food around theoffice would make them feel more valued and appreciated” (Baldoni,2013, p. 1). The study indicates that something as minimal asproviding free food causes employees to feel content about theirplace of work.

In a different study carried out by Peapod, a delivery company, theresearchers concluded that employees who were provided with snacks atwork felt more satisfied with their job, as compared to those notprovided with snacks (Malcolm, 2015). According to the study,providing employees with free food acts as a strategy of ensuringthey are happy. In addition, snacks are likely to lure workers to neworganizations. This emphasizes the significance workers place on aworkplace that has a free food policy. According to Monaghan, when anemployer uses such a strategy, “it helps employees be more excitedabout coming to work” (Malcolm, 2015). This is because, foodprovided freely communicates to employees that the employer iswilling to invest in them, which guarantees they are happy with theirworkplace and career.


The type of food people eat affects their ability to work. Once foodis consumed, it is broken down into glucose, which is needed in thebody to supply the brain with the energy that ensures an individualremains alert (Friedman, 2014). Without food, employees may lack theenergy needed in ensuring they remain focused on their tasks. It isalso important to note that when workers are not provided with freefood, they make the decisions on what to eat based on what foods theycan afford to buy. In most cases, the food choices comprise of foodsthat reduce energy (Friedman, 2014). But supposing that employersprovide food for their workers, this will make certain that theemployees are given food that increases their energy, and in turnpromote wellbeing.

Quintiliani, Poulsen and Sorensen (2010) support the need foremployers to provide free food as a way of ensuring their employeesare healthy. The authors explain that “worksites represent animportant venue for influencing dietary patterns. Given theconsiderable time workers spend on their jobs, worksites offer animportant venue to reach large numbers of workers in order to provideon-going education as well as healthy food options” (Quintiliani etal., 2010, p. 183). This is because, employers are more likely tooffer food that is associated with healthy eating habits. Inaddition, it is possible to use worksites to support changes ineating habits. Considering the unhealthy eating habits of manyAmericans, employers who provide free food, like vegetables andfruits, encourage their workers to adopt healthy eating habits(Quintiliani et al., 2010).

Employee Compensation

By making food available at workplaces at no extra costs, employerscompensate the money employees would have used in buying lunch. As aresult, they are able to save cash and use it for other importantexpenses (Ammex Isupport Corporation, 2016). Although anemployer may fail to directly increase the salary of his or herworkers, a free food policy increases the salary of members of staff.Also, the strategy acts as a fair way of ensuring that all employeesare compensated equally. An organization comprises of employees ofdifferent ranks. Hence, any rewards that may be given out by anemployer might differ depending on rank. For instance, using salaryincrements to reward workers means that the junior level workersreceive a smaller salary raise as compared to senior level staff. Asa result, the low-ranking personnel are likely to feel lessappreciated due to their employment ranks. But with a free foodpolicy, rewards are given equally.

Company Structure

Free food at work changes the structure of a company. Some examplesof these changes include enhancing the communication among employees,reimagining the place of employment as a community and creates acollaborative work environment. According to the Ammex IsupportCorporation (2016), eating together in lunch areas at work makesit possible for workmates to share a table. In the process, theemployees connect with colleagues from different departments andlevels. Additionally, eating meals together acts as an opportunityfor workmates to relate on a personal level and get to know moreabout each other. Such interactions are significant in formingstronger, as well as positive connections amid staff, which resultsin positive results for an organization.

On the other hand, Malcolm (2015) explains that free food at workchanges how employees view the workplace. The workplace becomes a“community with a shared purpose, rather than offices where groupsof people all happen to be from 9-5” (Malcolm, 2015, p. 1). Thismeans that free food breaks down company structures that expectemployees to be working for a specified period of time. Instead, theoffice feels more welcoming due to the sharing of food betweenemployees of all ranks.

As workmates eat lunch together, the barriers amid differentdepartments are broken down. This is because, employees share tablesat eating places. In the process, individuals from differentdepartments begin to exchange ideas, for instance concerning a workproject. During the lunch break, the employees could use theopportunity to plan to meet the following day during lunch hour andcontinue the discussion. As a result, collaboration between workersdevelops as they are able to freely share ideas concerning workissues.


Research Design

The research design for this study will be secondary data analysisand survey. The secondary data analysis will involve analyzingavailable findings on the impacts of free food at work. Surveys willthen be conducted on companies that have already implemented thepolicy, to find out their response concerning how they havebenefited. Once data from the survey and available literature hasbeen compiled, the information will be compared, and the commonimpacts identified.


When conducting secondary analysis of data, study participants willnot be required. However, the surveys will require feedback fromselect employees of companies that have the free food policy at workin place.


The first step will involve conducting online research to locatecredible and reliable sources on how free food at places ofemployment impacts employees. Once located, the sources will beevaluated for relevance, which is the data analysis. All importantpoints on the topic will be written down and proper citation providedfor every source. Afterwards, the companies to use in conducting thesurvey will be identified and the necessary arrangements made tocarry out the investigation. Issues such as participants’ consentmust be put into consideration. Once information from the secondaryanalysis and survey is properly compiled, the feedback from thesurvey and summary notes from the secondary sources will be compared.The similar points raised will then be identified. For instance,supposing one of the impacts of free food at workplaces identified inthe secondary research is increasing productivity, and the sameresponse was provided during the survey, productivity is classifiedas one of the main impacts.


Ammex Isupport Corporation. (2016). The result of free food atthe workplace. Retrieved from:

Baldoni, J. (2013). Motivation by mouth: Does free food make for ahappier workplace? Forbes. Retrieved from:

Friedman, R. (2014). What you eat affects your productivity. HarvardBusiness Review. Retrieved from:

Malcolm, H. (2015). Study: The key to happiness at work is freesnacks. USA Today. Retrieved from:

Quintiliani, L., Poulsen, S &amp Sorensen, G. (2010). Healthy eatingstrategies in the workplace. International Journal of WorkplaceHealth Management, 3(3), 182-196.