Breakfast at Rhiza: Small Businesses Can Eat Well Too

IMG_4102I had a wonderful and healthy breakfast this morning (see the photos I took this morning). All ingredients that I used when I prepared my meal were organic and provided by local farmers. Why am I sharing the details about my breakfast this morning? If I were at home, this would be no big deal, but I’m not. I’m at work at Rhiza, a software company that I lead as CEO.

We’re all used to hearing about the fancy chefs at Google, Facebook, etc. but there are ways that smaller companies can reasonably provide healthy food options for their employees without breaking the bank by opening restaurants in the workplace. At Rhiza, it’s part of our culture to encourage healthy lifestyles for our employees. We believe that healthier employees are more productive, engaged and in general, happier. So how exactly can you achieve those goals without breaking the bank?

The first and best decision we’ve made as a company was to establish a relationship with Isidore Foods a food subscription company in Western Pennsylvania connecting local farms directly with consumers. It would be unrealistic for Rhiza to establish individual relationships with all of the different farmers that would supply the eggs, milk, cheese, meats, fruits, vegetables, bread and the variety of other items we want to have in the office. Isidore Foods already has all of those relationships established. Our office manager lets them know what we want and quantities, and they deliver it all to our office on a weekly basis. Any food that isn’t consumed in a reasonable time goes home with employees and shared with their families.

IMG_4103Since we want employees to be able to prepare this fresh food how they like for breakfast, lunch and snacks, the second part of this approach necessitates having a real kitchen in the workplace. We have a full kitchen with oven/stove and all of the utensils and pots/pans a person might need. Yes, that’s an upfront investment but it is really a minimal cost when looked at in the big picture.

What about cleanup, you ask? We see that as another way to emphasis our company values. If you made a mess (in coding software, in the kitchen, etc), you need to clean it up if you can or ask for help if you can’t. While there are always hiccups along the way, we’ve not noticed any serious problems.

We’ve found a great way to have our company’s values of caring about people, planet and profit reflected in our kitchen. Employees can be healthier, we’re supporting local organic farming and continue to have fun at work.