Have you wondered what some of the smartest people on Earth eat? Burgers or foie gras? Are they food conscious or totally ignorant to what goes into their bellies?
Google has gotten a lot of media attention for its employee benefits. To me though the most remarkable are those related to the food and dining facilities. Most people’s perception of Google is that it’s a funky company that calls its offices a “campus” and has created a “collegiate” atmosphere where employees dress casually and can have fun. However according to a recent issue of Fortune magazine it is the best place to work in America. A big reason for that Number One status is the wide range of benefits it offers employees.
What are the perks offered by Google in their own words?
“The goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees’ way. We provide a standard package of fringe benefits, but on top of that are first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, carwashes, dry cleaning, commuting buses – just about anything a hardworking employee might want. Let’s face it: programmers want to program, they don’t want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both.” Eric Schmidt, CEO Google
As you are about to read further down the post, free gourmet food is served at Google headquarters for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But why Google serve gourmet food to their employees?
The company wants to achieve several goals: Attract the best knowledge-workers it can in the intensely competitive environment for high achievers; help them work long hours by feeding them gourmet meals on-site and handling other time-consuming personal chores, show that they are valued. All this has the purpose to have them remain Googlers, as employees are known, for many years.
As you can guess many Google employees are very well paid. This means they can go out to pretty much any restaurant, even the most expensive ones. So you might wonder what one should serve to Googlers, so they feel they are fed well and looked after.
They first of all are feeding the smartest people in the world with the best ingredients possible.
There are 18 eateries at Googleplex campus in Mountain View. There are also over 300 full time kitchen staff, spread in those 18 cafes that are overseen by 7 executive chefs. This year Googlers will get 3 or 4 new cafes, says one of the Google’s executive chefs Jeff Freburg.
Every café has a different concept and a different style. For example Pintxo Cafe predominantly serves seafood but also other epicurean dishes made with gourmet ingredients such as foie gras and truffle oil. In Pure Ingredient Café, Google employees can eat food that has no artificial ingredients and everything is very natural. While at Crave Café they make different themes every day, playing around with all different cultures and giving everybody their own craving once in a while.
Going above and beyond, all dishes served at Google headquarters are color coded and have allergies symbols. Color codes are green for “Go”, yellow for “be precautious” and red for “eat that at your own risk”.
All kitchens are set up as show kitchens, not only allowing employees to see how their food is cooked but also to interact with chefs, asking them “what’s in this, what’s in that”, which also helps creating a sense of community.
There is a dedicated blog that provides all the different eateries menus and comments on the dishes. Thus the employees know exactly what they can eat for lunch. And if they don’t know something about an ingredient or a particular dish they simply google it before they go downstairs for lunch.
Finally, it’s all free. Yes, that’s right, Googlers don’t have to pay even a penny for the food they eat! That is why I don’t wonder that Google’s food budget: $7,530 per employee, or $72 million a year. By its own count, Google has about 8,000 workers at the Googleplex in Mountain View, and another 700 at the offices on Ninth Avenue in New York City. After buying DoubleClick Google got 900 more U.S. employees. So that’s a total of about 9,600 employees working in the United States alone.