Is your cafeteria as stale as yesterday's buffet? Does your space send the message that eating is a task to be completed—and quickly?

Well, no longer. 

The cafeteria can—nay—should be a fun, social place where employees build community ties, collaborate, and enjoy each other's company while doing something as natural as eating. Though some companies spend a fortune to make this happen and provide their employees with 100% free meals, it seems that most companies can improve their lunchroom atmosphere by simply showing that they have employee well-being at the forefront of their minds.

unleash the power of your break room

Here are my top 5 things employers can do to improve the cafeteria experience:

  1. Keep the cafeteria clean – no one likes eating lunch on grimy tables
  2. Keep the refrigerator clean – storing food is a perfect idea until you have to stack it on last year's science experiment that Ted from accounting left in there
  3. Make it not smell weird – nothing makes me want to leave the office on my lunch break like eating food in room that smells like a dumpster
  4. Don't overdo it on the lysol – on the flip side, eating food in a room that is still dripping with disinfectant is equally gross
  5. Take the trash out – why is the trashcan always overflowing and spilling noodles or italian dressing onto the floor?

See, it actually isn't that difficult to make the cafeteria pain-free for everyone.

All that said, some companies go the next step and create an intentionally well-planned and inviting environment that will help encourage employees to think twice about leaving. Below are a few examples from a wide variety of companies.

help me create a gathering space in my office

Airbnb's Naturally-lit Cafeteria

NUON's Modern Cafeteria

Virgin Management's Playful Cafeteria

Pinterest's Sleek Cafeteria

NFL's Clean and Well-lit Cafeteria

Clif Bar's Raw Cafeteria

Kixeye's Minimal Cafeteria

Evernote's Plywood Cafeteria

ASICS's Atrium Cafeteria

Adobe's Restaurant-style Cafeteria

Roche's Lounge Cafeteria

Microsoft's Hip Cafeteria

Google's Old-style Cafeteria

Abercrombie & Fitch's Wooden Wonderland Cafeteria

Yelp's Symmetrical Cafeteria

Sailthru's Industrial Cafeteria

Coca-Cola's Branded Cafeteria

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