Which Tech Company Has The Best Cafeteria Food?
At the start of 2015 I was “funemployed”, which gave me a great excuse to meet friends under the auspices of “catching up”. I enjoyed meeting friends at their large tech campuses to enjoy the cornucopia of gourmet food that the best companies have to offer. I had the opportunity to “catch up” with friends at Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, and here is my assessment of the food situation:
Pros: Standalone Indian Buffet, Amazing Yogurt Toppings, Cherry Coke on Tap
Cons: Standalone Indian Buffet
Yahoo recently had an off quarter, and how can you blame them? If I were weighed down by Chicken Tikka Masala and hot fudge all afternoon, I’d never get anything done. The Yahoo cafeteria is great, and has made massive strides under the leadership of Marissa Mayer, but still has a ways to go to catch some of the other companies. With that being said, given the size of the Building D cafeteria in the Sunnyvale campus (as compared to the square footage of other tech companies), I’m impressed with what they had to offer. I opted for the grilled cheese, tomato soup, and onion rings and I was not disappointed.
Pros: More like 50 cafeterias, great burger joint, ample space to eat
Cons: Paradox of choice, lots of distractions (like people in those weird bike contraptions)
I can never decide what to eat at Google — there’s literally any cuisine you can imagine (available at anytime of day). In my most recent trip, I opted for the “gourmet burger” since I am such a great Hindu. I would put the burger on par with something you can get at Umami Burger, or other high-end places — it’s fantastic (the fries on the other hand were “so-so”). Because of the open-glass layout, it’s hard to focus on food when you have people holding meetings in those “group bicycles” and other contraptions. The food is great, but the ambience is… eh.
Pros: Great breakfast, great health food options, Disney-like-atmosphere
Cons: If you are over 30, you will feel like the oldest person there
I can count the number of times I’ve “enjoyed” a salad bar in my entire life on one hand — one of them was at Facebook. I also had the pleasure of enjoyed the breakfast spread at Facebook, including the amazing tater tots. When you walk through campus, you feel like a 12 year old again — the campus quite literally looks like Disneyland. The downside of that is that everyone who works there may actually be 12 — which means you will look creepy and older if you are over 30. Big points for great food, but not suited for the older crowd.
Pros: Great food, you can focus on the food itself because of the business-like-atmosphere
Cons: Less selection, terrible yogurt toppings
My winner is LinkedIn — I had hands down the best lunch of all the tech campuses at LI. They had an amazing Taco Salad bar, which included Chipotle-style seasoned chicken. The drink selection is amazing, and the options, while limited, are all excellent. You can tell this place is run by business-people — they are focused, you aren’t bothered while you eat, and you walk away happy. With that being said, they need to change the Yogurt toppings to be more “Yogurtland-like” — a slight improvement there and LinkedIn could be a Michelin-star rated restaurant.
If any of you want to take me for a free lunch on your campus (hint-hint: Dropbox and Uber friends) I am happy to add you to the rankings list.