Most companies in Silicon Valley know if you provide food for your employees their productivity goes up. It’s a nice perk that keeps them happy and in the office coding away, rather than getting in their cars to go downtown to grab a one hour burrito lunch.
In 2004 at Topix we started with Maldonado’s Pizza on Fridays. The navy blue shag carpeted office above a trophy shop strewn with old couches reminded me of my fraternity days in Delta Upsilon. Soon enough we had names for the pizzas, notably the ‘Hot Bob’ with hot sausage, pineapple and jalapeno. My creation the ‘Burnszilla’ oozed with hot sausage, mushrooms and caramelized onions. New offices a few years later and pizza turned to catered food from local restaurants.
And then there was AmberGate; our administrative assistant ordered Amber Indian food a la carte for lunch and the bill came to $639! Later on we bought an outdoor propane grill and I would make bourbon-apple juice baby back ribs. We would have a picnic outside in the parking lot with nothing left but pork bones. Good times indeed.
Fast-forward to blekko seven years later and the palates of software engineers have evolved, or perhaps devolved. It’s just more complicated because they expect more and you have to deal with lacto-ovo, ovo, vegetarians, vegans, fishetarians and chickentarians. A huge innovation in pizza lunches occurred by having Amici’s Pizza on Mondays instead of Fridays because the pizza leftovers would last all week instead of drying up in the fridge over the weekend. Soon after pizza was supplemented with Waiter.com on Wednesdays; Thai food, sushi and falafels were the main staples.
Ron Conway recommended ZeroCater.com for us to use. You just have to tell them how many employees, how many people are vegetarian, the date and time and lunch magically appears. No hassles, no preordering. The average meal costs about $12.50 per person, which is not too bad.