Why You Should Have a Kitchen in Your Office

By | 2016-12-01T19:14:18+00:00 January 18th, 2013|Startup Culture, Workplace Design|

Eating out everyday can be fun, but all that deliciousness can add up quickly. For entrepreneurs working in startups where every dollar counts, staying in for lunch makes a lot of sense.

Here are some benefits of installing an office kitchen in the workplace:

  • Build camaraderie: Lunch at the office is a chance to build trusting relationships that grow friendships and a broader community. It can be tempting to grab something off campus or eat at your desk, but consider using lunchtime as an opportunity to connect with something other than a computer monitor.
  • Save money: Between your morning latté and lunchtime splurge, you could be spending more than $15 a day eating out. When you consider that over the course of a week ($60) or month ($240), your wallet takes a heavy hit. Save money by bringing a lunch from home.
  • Eat healthy: Brown-bagging your lunch means you have total control over what you eat. Shop for whole foods and natural options instead of fried goodies that taste good but leave you feeling bad.

For all the benefits of eating lunch in the office, a great experience depends on a having great space to make it happen. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Create a designated place to sit and mingle

A well-equipped workplace lunch area is essential to pulling people away from their desks. Get a little creative and design a space that people will be excited to use. Building a great kitchen environment should come before you start buying all of the stuff that goes into it, so consider contacting a professional for design help. An office kitchen should have essential space elements like:

  • cabinets for community dishes and group snacks
  • storage for cleaning supplies
  • trash and recycling
  • plenty of seating
  • tables: café height and traditional seated height
  • a floor plan that optimizes traffic flow

The finished space should encourage people to leave their computer monitors and gather together.

2. Add a (fantastic) coffee maker

Caffeine is the fuel for entrepreneurs and startups everywhere, so having coffee available is critical. With so many options available for different types of coffee makers, so there’s no excuse for having terrible joe. While traditional basket coffee makers save money and bring people together, single serve cup-style coffee makers give people options and make it easy for leaders to offer the perk of seasonal flavors.

3. Provide plates and utensils

You don’t need fine china and silver in your office kitchen, but having a few options on hand makes staying in that much easier. Buying a stash of paper plates and plasticware is tempting — and perhaps necessary — but it is wasteful and costly. Instead, offer a mix of both: some dishes that can be washed and reused, as well as paper plates for impromptu pizza parties.

4. Consider offering snacks and drinks

A package of soda, granola bars and a bowl of fruit is a great starting place for office snacks. Ask employees to contribute ideas or take turns bringing in their favorites. If your office is health conscious, do your best to tailor the food around preferences and special dietary needs by offering vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options.

If your budget can’t take the hit of constant food offerings, consider trying:

  • scheduled office potlucks
  • snacks on Fridays
  • special lunches once a month
  • asking for a per-plate donation

How do you lunch at your office? Is it a community affair? Share your experiences on Twitter @myturnstone

Jane Graham types away as turnstone’s brand writer and social media gal. The pen behind a 2010 best-selling book and experienced ghostwriter, Jane’s voice has powered articles featured on Entrepreneur.com, Yahoo! Small Business and elsewhere.