Providing Meals as Benefits
Large tech companies offer their employees generous food services which provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks largely free of charge. An overview of these benefits and their reputations are provided below.
GOOGLE'S EMPLOYEE MEAL SERVICES
- Google has a well-known reputation of feeding its employees well, offering workers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for free.
- The meals are provided in several cafes throughout the campus. The main cafe is Charlie's cafe, which was started by chef Charlie Ayers, who was previously the chef for the Grateful Dead.
- Charlie's Cafe has several stations offering different kinds of cuisines from vegetarian dishes to sushi and many other kinds of ethnic foods from cultures around the world. All of it is free of charge and can be accessed any time of day.
- Food is one of the most common perks mentioned by Google employees. The term "Google 15" has even developed into a widely used phrase referring to the 15 pounds of weight that new employees gain because of the quality and availability of the food.
- Other cafes on the Google campus are called the pacific cafe, the charleston cafe, cafe 150, and the no name cafe, which all offer several choices for each meal, totaling about 200 individual recipes each day.
- Employees also have free access to snacks, which are located at various snack rooms located throughout the campus and offer "candy, granola, chocolate-coated pretzels, juices, coffees, and other goodies".
- Google doesn't publicly disclose how much it spends on employee food services, but insiders have estimated that it's likely around $72 million to $80 million annually.
- The Googleplex at Mountainview has 30 cafes, while Google offices worldwide have a total of 185 cafes which serve 108,000 each day.
- Google's free employee meal services are currently viewed as perks, not fringe benefits, by the IRS because they are considered to be "furnished on the company’s premises and done so for the company’s convenience". This means that Google employees do not have to pay taxes on their free meals.
- The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) mandated that "the cost of meals provided by a non-restaurant taxpayer that operates a cafeteria on its premises" are 50% tax-deductible opposed to the previous regulation which made those costs 100% tax-deductible. As a result, Google can only claim a tax deduction up to 50% on their employee meal expenses as an employer.
FACEBOOK'S EMPLOYEE MEAL SERVICES
- The food at Facebook is one of the most-cited perks of working at the company, which has been named as the best place to work in America multiple times.
- Facebook's headquarters at Menlo Park provides its employees 11 separate cafes offering different kinds of cuisine such as BBQ, Asian food, and Latin food, all of which is free or heavily discounted.
- The main cafe serves 2,300 meals a day free of charge. The kitchen staff of 50 is led by an executive chef who creates a rotating menu of different kinds of cuisines for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Employees with food allergies have said that Facebook's cafe is known for being considerate in showing a meal's ingredients and offering alternatives.
- Facebook has said that it offers employees free food as a way to encourage employees to stay late and to increase productivity.
- In 2018, Facebook was banned from offering its employees at its new office in Mountain View, California by the local government. The purpose of this ban was to encourage employees to spend money at restaurants outside of the company's offices to stimulate the local economy.
INSTAGRAM'S EMPLOYEE MEAL SERVICES
- Instagram is much smaller than other tech companies, having only 450 employees compared to Google's 100,000+ employees or Facebook's 35,000+ employees. As a result, information on its employee food services are not readily available. Based on employee reviews, however, Instagram does appear to offer free food to its employees.
TWITTER EMPLOYEE MEAL SERVICES
- Twitter offers their employees free breakfast and lunch prepared on-site. Take-home dinners are available for only $5.
- Free snacks are also offered on every floor in Twitter's offices at their headquarters in San Fransisco.
- Employees cite the free meals and snacks as one of the greatest perks of working at Twitter, along with savings plans, maternity leave, and a generous vacation policy.
- Offices in San Fransisco and New York offer Twitter employees access to corporate cafeterias, which provide breakfast and lunch free of charge. These cafeterias have in-house chefs known for creating high-end cuisine.