Andrew Rogers, Anchor System’s co-founder, speaks with our own founder, Liz Kaelin, about the importance of these weekly team lunches. Check out their interview below for great insights into motivation, team building, and of course, food!
- LK: Since co-founding Anchor in 2000, you’ve been offering a company-sponsored weekly team lunch. Why did you choose a weekly lunch as a staff perk?
- AR: We’ve always had the view that our staff would enjoy and value the same things we do as founders. We never wanted to have one set of rules for the owners or managers and another for everyone else. In the early days we’d all go out to lunch on Friday, money was a bit tight all round and it felt like a small win not having to pay for lunch and so we did it for everyone, I think it just grew out of that.
- LK: Research suggests that benefits of a regular team lunch include better retention, higher productivity and motivation, and better relationships between staff. In your experience, do you agree? Can you describe some of the benefits you’ve seen?
- AR: Absolutely. At one stage I was organising the numbers and bookings every week and it became a bit of a chore and so we dabbled with stopping it. The team told us quite loudly that it was important to them. So we rostered a different person on the bookings each week and kept going. I think people often make the mistake of looking at costs in isolation, the lunch bill adds up over the year but in the context of not loosing a good person or avoiding a consequent recruiters fee it’s not that bad. To me lunches are part of our culture, which is something you work at continuously. Your culture is what makes your company somewhere that people actually want to work at and be part of. So being able to recruit great people more easily is ultimately the biggest benefit to us.
- LK: Do you think these benefits to the company have outweighed the cost of feeding the team?
- AR: It’s obviously difficult to say objectively but I really do believe so. Somethings are about more than money though, per my earlier point if you believe your staff enjoy the things you do and you’re in a position where you can provide some of these small things then I think it’s the right thing to do and you should do it independent of the cost.
- LK: What advice would you give to other businesses that are thinking of offering a team lunch to their employees as a company perk?
- AR: Up until we started using You Chews we either went out for lunch or we ordered pizza or a bit of both. Going out became really hard as we could have 40+ people at a table/s on a big day. Our options became limited and lunches became slower. I think staying in for lunch was at first perceived as the company being a bit cheap but in hindsight I wish we’d done it sooner. The big change about having food catered in the office is that it’s much more social, people can move around more freely, join different discussions, stagger their eating times. It’s a lot more relaxed and I think achieves more of our objectives.
- LK: If you had to choose your favourite You Chews lunch, what would it be? 🙂
- AR: Curiously it was one of the simplest meals – the chorizo and prawns on rolls with same amazing zesty, coriander sauce.