Nov 6th 2019


Companies perform better with happy employees. No surprises there.

Happier, engaged employees outperform their disengaged peers by 10 percent.

Considering the clear business case for happier employees, how can employers do their best to ensure employees are their happiest and most engaged?

There are a multitude of ways to create a culture that boosts happiness, from flexible working opportunities to offering a range of benefits such as subsidised gym memberships. But what would have a company-wide effect on culture every single day?

The answer: Food

We spoke to City Pantry, a company revolutionising food at work. Partnering with over 500 top restaurants and caterers across the UK, City Pantry deliver inspiring meals to offices for any occasion. From working lunches to Friday feasts, they’ve got you sorted.

By providing employees not only food, but good food, City Pantry has seen a rise in engagement, productivity and retention. Going further than simply providing fuel for employees, eating delicious food contributes to employees’ health and general wellbeing, and eating together promotes collaboration amongst teams.


An important factor of company-wide lunches for Stuart Sunderland, CEO and Founder of City Pantry is the direct impact they have on cross-functional communication. By eating lunch together Stuart found that there was ‘an increase in cross-functional empathy that helps break down any communication issues, lets people get to know each other away from their desks, which can lead to more productivity in the team and helps individuals feel more valued.’

Communicating across teams has huge positive business impacts, as Lorne Magill, City Pantry’s Head of Account Management says, ‘you don’t realise how much information is shared and common understanding is built during lunch, even if it is a quick 15 mins!’. Building cross-functional relationships and developing bonds with people not just in your immediate team will contribute to a more positive, collaborative atmosphere which in turn will have a positive impact on business.

Companies that eat together, stay together

Companies that offer food to employees enjoy higher levels of retention. By creating a positive working atmosphere and developing social connections, employers create a culture that reduces turnover.

A survey ran by Peapod of 1,000 employees found that employees who had free food at work, 67% were ‘extremely’ or ‘very happy’ at their current jobs, an increase of 11 percentage points than those who did not have food at the office. Happier employees are not only more productive but with meals deepening social connections amongst employees, companies will experience higher levels of retention and loyalty.

Offering free food as a perk will also help attract new employees. With only a third of offices offering free food, this offering will stand you apart from your competitors. In competitive, candidate-driven job any way you can differentiate yourself from competitors is a plus for talent attraction strategies.

The impact food has on culture and business was highlighted when City Pantry itself halted company-wide meals during financially hard times. As Stuart Sunderland CEO and Founder of City Pantry says, ‘teams worked less cross-functionally, people didn’t socialise as much and the company felt more fragmented’. With the detrimental impacts felt, City Pantry decided to re-introduce lunches three times a week.

Food, glorious food!

As employers look to cultivate a strong workplace culture, food is the ‘social-glue that can bring teams together’ as Stuart points out. It goes much further than just impacting your bottom line. It brings people together, allows teams to connect and collaborate and creates a positive culture that increases retention and attracts top candidates.


Read here about Tempo’s conversation with Unmind about how to build a more inclusive workplace