Thanks to younger employees, the days of the cubicle farm with its slop fest of a corporate cafeteria are gone. Instead, the work-life balance has taken over U.S offices – we’re talking ping pong tables, nap rooms, and even Beer Fridays.
Hell, come 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials, demanding free food and flexibility. Companies are taking notice and turning their cafeterias into touted destinations, not just grab-and-snack stopovers.
Here are five workplace eateries that will make your mouth water and your brain melt.
1. Google Mountain View, California; New York, New York
As you might expect from a company that generated more than $18 billion in 2014, Google has a large Mountain View campus, but you may be surprised to learn the company maintains a produce garden and beehives on site that help serve their around 30 unique cafes.
The Googleplex even includes an Indian restaurant called Cafe Baadal, complete with a legit full-service wait staff. With additional “micro-kitchens,” Google offices are known for their insane dedication to cuisine.
And, that this extends beyond just the Northern California campus. According to Payscale, the New York Google office cafeteria serves up braised Mangalore salmon in coconut milk, hanger steak with sauce bordelaise, and beet-marinated tofu with chile-scallion glaze.
2. Apple Cupertino, California
At Caffè Macs, the well-known and beautifully designed cafe(teria) of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, choosing what to eat feels a bit like that scene from Hook, where whatever you imagine magically appears.
Employees can score breakfast scrambles, quinoa hash, bison cheeseburgers, ramen burgers, tri-tip, and oysters. The menu’s a wild melting pot of tasty ideas.
3. Facebook Menlo Park, California; New York, New York
Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters is a millennial-run Main Street. “Cafeteria” is a super loose term here, given that 11 joints are handing out grub that’s either free or insanely discounted for employees and guests.
Despite a renowned “if-you-can-dream-it-you-can-add-it” salad bar, it’s largely not light fare—try burgers, nachos, and Asian cuisine—though the considerable madhouse pride is BBQ. There’s a gigantic outdoor grill and smoker, which cooks up bacon-wrapped meatloaf, 300 lbs. of brisket, and a whole pig.
Facebook’s New York office also has a widely renowned cafeteria where, according to The Huffington Post, the cook will sometimes create an employee-specific dish, like a Philippine pork belly-and-rice dish for a Filipino engineer in mind.
4. Pixar Emeryville, California
Café Luxo, the warm and welcoming cafe of Pixar’s Emeryville headquarters, is run by celebrated Executive Chef Jennifer McAteer Johnston. You can tell, according to Bon Appétit, given a history of dishes ranging from seared ahi and bok choy to sugar-balsamic pancakes topped with poppy seed crème fraîche.
It’s a big open space ripe for collaborative chats over food; fuel the creatives! Plus, there’s always the cereal bar room that everyone on the Pixar campus loves.
5. Hearst New York, New York
If you’re going to write for the big shots, you have to eat like one, apparently. The entire “first-class dining experience” of Hearst’s Cafe57 is so epic and elegant it sounds made up, from the in-house sushi chefs to the company’s own cattle ranch that supplies the grass-fed beef.
Serving more than 1,200 people a day should make the menu easy and predictable, but it changes week to week, offering delectable dishes like Organic Tofu Asian Chopped Salad and Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken Sandwich with Pineapple Kimchi and Lime Mayo.