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article imageNo More Free Lunch For Google Employees?

By Chris V. Thangham     Aug 25, 2008 in Business
Google was rated “Best Place to Work” for two years in a row. One of the main reasons cited by its workers was the free food they were offering. But now Google plans to cut some of the free food options.
In the previous article, “Google's Gigantic Food Budget: $7,530 Per Employee, $72 Million A Year” we learned Google was spending nearly $30 per employee per day for food.
But now Google is feeling the costs and wants to cut the food budget, according to a Google employee. The employee told Valleywag that Google is cutting the evening meals:
Google has drastically cut back their budget on the culinary program. How is it affecting campus? No more dinner. No more tea trolley. No more snack attack in the afternoon.
According to the employee, Google will announce these changes to Googlers (Google employees) today. Despite this cut, Googlers are still fed more than any other company.
Google uses this food benefits option to recruit new employees and even Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, promised shareholders they would rather add perks than cut them. But changes have occurred already.
In 2004, the founders wrote:
We provide many unusual benefits for our employees, including meals free of charge … We are careful to consider the long term advantages to the company of these benefits. Expect us to add benefits rather than pare them down over time. We believe it is easy to be penny wise and pound foolish with respect to benefits that can save employees considerable time and improve their health and productivity.
Why the sudden change of mind? One main reason is the outside management of Bon Appétit, which has clashed with Google and many Google Chefs have quit and joined Facebook. As a result the Googleplex is understaffed and Google doesn’t want to pay more for Bon Appétit’s additional staff.
Valleywag also speculates that Google may be cutting the food expenses after Brin complained that too many Googlers are misusing the free food benefits.
But will these changes affect the employees’ morale and their job performance? We have to wait and see. In the future, Google should follow the Hebrew proverb, "Promise little and do much".
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