ezCater Report Reveals Food Is Employees’ Most Appreciated Perk

From improving productivity to attracting and retaining employees, data shows how food for work fuels business results

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ezCater, the most trusted provider of corporate food solutions, today released “Food For Work 2023: Fueling America’s Workforce,” a new data report to help decision-makers stay informed and take advantage of the benefits that food offers workplaces. The report pairs 15 years of proprietary ezCater data with survey findings from more than 600 people who regularly order food for work and over 1,000 people whose employers provide free or subsidized food. These insights reveal that food is a must-have workplace perk and can deliver real results for businesses.

The report shows that 57% of employees surveyed say they appreciate free and subsidized food the most, more than other work perks. Most notably, employees said they appreciate food over flexible work arrangements, wellness and education stipends, profit sharing or stock options, and volunteer time off.

“The fact that food is employees’ most appreciated work perk may seem surprising, but at ezCater, we’re used to hearing how powerful food can be to motivate and engage teams at work,” said Diane Swint, Chief Revenue Officer, ezCater. “The report paints a clear picture: feeding employees creates real value for businesses at an affordable cost. That makes food for work no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have for employers.”

The report explores the five main reasons that food for work drives value for businesses:

Providing meals is HR’s secret weapon for hiring: Half of all employees surveyed (50%) say the perk of free food at work would make them more likely to accept a job offer. However, only 43% of companies mentioned their food for work offerings during the recruiting process, presenting an opportunity for companies to advertise this perk in job listings, careers pages, and hiring conversations to help with recruiting efforts.

Food for work helps with employee retention: 46% of workers say employer-provided food makes them more likely to stay at their company. Notably, Gen Z eaters were 11% more likely than average to say this.

Employees will commute to the office for food: Food for work can play a key role for companies looking to incentivize employees to work onsite and give them a return on their commute. Companies tend to see increased attendance at any work meeting or event with food, and 86% of employers also say that food encourages employees to come to the workplace.

Food improves performance and productivity: Over half of all employees (53%) feel more productive when given food, with Gen Z being 19% more likely than average to say this. Similarly, workers who report higher quality work with free food say it’s because they have more energy to put into work (78%) and are able to focus more on their work (54%).

Food for work increases overall engagement: Employers may be underestimating the power of food to increase employee engagement. Workers are 32% more likely than employers to credit food with connection and collaboration, with 82% of workers saying free food gives them a chance to collaborate and connect with coworkers, while only 62% of employers would say the same.

“Providing free lunch is probably one of our most exciting perks, and when we’re hiring, it’s something we promote. Not many companies provide lunch five days a week, so when people hear that, it’s a jaw-dropper,” added Melissa Allinder, Office Operations Manager at NorthPoint Development.

ezCater’s “Food For Work 2023: Fueling America’s Workforce” report can be found in full here. To learn more about the ezCater Catering Growth Platform, visit www.ezcater.com/grow.


In Q1 of 2023, ezCater surveyed three subgroups: 621 “food orderers” or people who regularly order food for their workplace (referred to as “orderers” or “employers”), 1,002 employees who work onsite at least one day per week and whose employers provide free or subsidized food, and 633 restaurant owners and operators. In addition to the over 2,000 individuals surveyed, ezCater analyzed 15 years of proprietary order data from millions of transactions.

About ezCater

ezCater is the most trusted provider of corporate food solutions. With over 100,000 restaurants across the US on its platform, ezCater provides flexible and scalable food solutions for everything from recurring employee meals to one-off events such as sales calls and board meetings. ezCater is purpose-built for food for work and supported by best-in-class customer service, enabling companies to centralize and manage their food spend in a single, customizable platform. To explore corporate food solutions or place a catering order, visit www.ezcater.com.


Jennie Hardin

VP, Corporate Communications