A busy professional asks a question regarding Company Culture:

At what staff number is it worth to provide daily “free” lunch or dinner for your employees?

I am the Recreation and Events Golf Manager for a course in Orlando. Part of my responsibility is overseeing the Clubhouse’s food and beverage team. We have always offered our staff 50% off a meal if they are working that day, and 20% off a meal if they come in to eat on their own time. We only staff about 20 people (including both back of the house and front of the house) in the clubhouse. With the spotlight on “company culture”, should we be providing additional benefits like free meals to our employees?


I think it’s very generous that you offer your staff discounts on meals.  In regards to “what staff number”, I think it should be directly proportional with your revenue/income.  You are still in the business to make money.  My recommendation is to continue your current method as long as it feels good to you and is still profitable to do so.

Additional benefits

As for “additional benefits” – consider rewarding performance versus just being “present”.

Some ideas are:

  • When salaried employees work “over-time” (evenings during the week, or weekend hours over lunch) – the company provides free meals to the employees during those “over and above” hours. This was in recognition for helping out in a moment of crisis or in a critical client situation.
  • Thank you card and restaurant gift certificates (or meal gift certificates to their entire family) can also be given as a performance award to celebrate outstanding accomplishments or outstanding performances. This provides a nice thank-you to their entire family. We often need to acknowledge that there’s an entire family involved that allows the employee to work those extra hours and/or provide that excellent performance. Thanking their entire family is also a nice show of overall appreciation.
  • Providing additional vacation days to compensate for extra/long hours is another option.
  • Some companies provide continuing education reimbursement to support their employee’s career growth and development.
  • Some companies reimburse for professional organizations or professional association fees. These are professional groups associated with the company’s industry.  When employees business network in these group, it’s a Win/Win for both the employee and the company.
  • Some companies reimburse for attendance to industry conferences, seminars and tradeshows. It’s another Win/Win for both the employee and the company.


Whatever you decide, keep in mind your employee’s advancement and career goals.  Then continue to provide additional assistance to help your employees develop and advance in their chosen career.

See what you think about those ideas.

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