Offering lunch to our team – StartupSmart

We’ve written previously that we were planning to offer lunch and snacks to our team in Sydney when we moved into our offices in Surry Hills. We have offered lunch and dinner to our team in China for nearly two years now.


We’ve now been in our Surry Hills offices for nearly six months and we can definitely say that offering lunch and snacks is a well loved perk and has a positive impact on the culture within our office.

We don’t skimp on lunch and average around $12 per person per day for lunch and another $2 per person per day for snacks.


Our lunch regulars are Sushi on Stanley Street, Sydney, Madam Cha Cha, Grill’d, Zushi, Mad Pizza, Max Mex, Pie Face, Miss Chu and the newly discovered and amazing Arthur’s Street Kitchen.


If anyone has any other suggestions for great takeaway/delivery lunch options in Surry Hills please let us know!


Snacks include healthy options like fruit and nuts, and the less healthy “DoughnutsFriday” where we get doughnuts from Krispy Kreme or pick up some deserts from Bourke St. Bakery.

There are tax benefits to offering lunch to our team. Like other expenses we can claim a GST input tax credit on non-fresh food purchases where GST is charged, which employees buying lunch for themselves can’t, and the cost, if catered into the office, is a tax deduction for the business without income or fringe benefits tax needing to be paid by the employees.


Normally an employee would have to buy lunch out of their post tax income.

Speaking to the team about whether they would prefer to receive the money we spend on lunch as salary and BYO lunch, there was unanimous consensus that a delicious, social lunch each day is much preferred.

We started out having brainstorming sessions over lunch where we’d brainstorm some issue we were having in the business, but this quickly felt too much like work so we switched from doing that.


Our conversations now are a mix of personal and work related topics.

Lunches have been great for the team getting to know each other.


Our engineering and marketing/customer happiness teams work quite separately day to day and it would be easy for these two parts of the office to not intermingle. Lunch helps avoid.

Overall we couldn’t be more please with the investment we’ve made in offering lunch and snacks to our team in Sydney, and we get similar benefits offering lunch and dinner to our team in China.


More businesses should do it!

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