While big tech firms such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook are well-known for their generous free food perks for workers, thousands of smaller and lesser-known businesses also recognize the value of providing free meals and snacks. Whether it’s daily free meals, occasional lunches, regular snacks, or bagels on Fridays, companies recognize that free food is a perk that employees like — a lot. Now that many employees are working from home, either temporarily or permanently, how can employers show their love via free food? As it turns out, it’s pretty easy in the Bay Area, and it may become even more affordable for employers with some help from Congress.

Free Food Is a Proven Motivator and Retention Tool

Before we explain how supplying free food to at-home workers is easy, it’s helpful to understand why so many companies are willing to incur the cost of feeding their employees. The simple answer is that it saves them money.

Studies have shown that when employees feel appreciated, they are more productive and are less likely to leave for more supportive work environments. Having ready-to-eat snacks, beverages, and meals at their fingertips also means they spend less time shopping, preparing, or going out for food — which also improves productivity. Recognizing when employees have put in long hours or finished a challenging project goes a long way toward boosting morale. In addition, many employer-provided meals are healthier than typical fast food, another mutual benefit.

Reap the Benefits of Free Food — Even If Your Employees Are Working Remotely

If you were offering free meals or snacks in the office before the pandemic sent workers scrambling to the safety of their homes (or if you never have but want to start), now is the perfect time to show your support. Even for workers who were accustomed to working remotely before the pandemic, these past few months have been challenging. Many have been juggling extra responsibilities, such as caring for school-aged children stuck at home or shopping for elderly relatives. Employees new to working at home have had to find somewhere quiet to set up a makeshift desk and overcome countless other obstacles to getting their work done.

With our Off the Grid At Home service, you can easily show your appreciation for their Herculean efforts with themed, home-delivered meals — breakfast, lunch, happy hour or dinners. Imagine your employees’ delight to find a freshly prepared, delicious meal on their doorstep, eliminating the need for them to prepare yet another meal at home or order expensive takeout.

Off the Grid At Home is fully customizable — you choose the theme, the frequency (a one-time reward or a recurring perk), the type of meal (including dietary restrictions), and the number of meals per delivery. For example, you can send one celebratory dinner or feed your employees’ entire family, send a Monday morning “start the week off great” breakfast or even daily lunch. Our Off the Grid At Home program includes meal preparation, packaging, branding, labeling (menu item, ingredients, allergens, date prepared, and use-by date), and delivery. Delivery areas include San Francisco, East Bay, South Bay, and Marin.

Home-delivered meals can help improve employee morale and productivity for the same reasons as in-office free food — possibly even more so now that many employees are feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the pandemic’s financial and emotional impacts. And, the ROI for employers may have just received an added boost with some help from Congress.

Providing Snacks and Meals May Become 100 Percent Tax-Deductible

Currently, employer-provided snacks and meals are 50 percent deductible, but due to a provision in the $1 trillion HEALS (Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools) Act, that could change to 100 percent. The deduction would likely include meals delivered to employee homes. The 100 percent deduction, known as Supporting America’s Restaurant Workers Act, would be temporary, ending December 31, 2020.

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), the measure’s sponsor, drafted it to support the millions of restaurant workers who have lost their jobs since the pandemic hit. According to the Q2 2020 Yelp Economic Average report, the restaurant industry has suffered the highest number of business closures, recently surpassing retail. According to the report, about 60 percent of the 26,160 restaurants that have closed as of July 10 are permanently closed. Allowing businesses to deduct 100 percent of restaurant meal expenses for employees aims to prevent more closures and job losses.

If you’re interested in learning more about our Off the Grid At Home services for your team or company, contact us here.