Free food isn’t always a perk for your people.

Direct Agents, a full-service, independent digital marketing agency, covered breakfast or dinner for employees who came into the office early or stayed late. While it sounds like a nice incentive, Director of Human Resources Sara Martinez-Noriega and her team realized it wasn’t making a positive impact.

“We noticed it was a very individualistic type of program,” she says. “We weren’t really building anything with it. It was even starting to lower morale…it’s not a good feeling to be the last person working in an empty office, even with free dinner.”

People just love lunch

The team decided to take a new approach for a meal program. Having noticed a boost in morale after the occasional group lunch, they came up with a new idea: providing a mid-day meal for employees twice per week.

“Any time that we’ve had pop-up lunches they’re always a hit,” Sara says. “People just really enjoy taking some time to sit and talk to each other. Every human has to eat, but there’s something special about actually sharing a meal. There have been studies that show it can increase self-esteem, team-building, and overall happiness. As a culture-first company, having this type of program just makes sense.”

But oh, the logistical nightmare

It was a great idea in theory, but how could they pull it off?

Logistically, ordering for dozens of employees with different dietary restrictions and staying within budget would prove a challenge. Sara tried to make it work with an online delivery company but found herself buried in administrative work.

“I would have to review all the charges and make sure no one ordered twice in one week because there weren’t any fail-safe mechanisms in place,” she says. “If someone did, I had to go have a conversation with them. That’s not something I want to do.”

Sanity, saved

That’s when Sara found STADIUM. Thanks to its easy-to-use system, her admin challenges were solved.

“With STADIUM the rules are in place for guest ordering and it’s very clear, people know they have to order by 10 am on delivery day,” Sara says. “Which has been really helpful for me as an administrator. All I do is put the amount that we’re covering, and everything else is up to the guest. I literally have to do zero legwork.”

The benefits of breaking bread together

Sara says what’s even better is what the STADIUM lunch program has done for the company culture.

“Since STADIUM orders come as a single delivery it allows people a guaranteed time to bond, which is great,” she says. “It’s a really nice, communal environment. People love it.”

There’s only one downside

Sara’s only regret? That Stadium can’t serve her team on the west coast.

“Stadium obviously isn’t out in L.A. We’re doing Uber Eats for our team there and that’s kind of all over the place. I get messages like, ‘hey it’s not working for me’ for whatever reason and I have to try and troubleshoot the issues, which is not something I’ve ever had to do with STADIUM. STADIUM is easy and simple.”

Want to offer your employees the chance to sit and break bread together? With Stadium, everyone on your team can order from different restaurants and it will come to you as a single delivery.. Start your lunch program or order ad hoc today: