Facebook's new office won't have free meals — by law

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SAN FRANCISCO — For most tech staff, there may be such a factor as a free lunch, however these days may very well be coming to an finish.

When Facebook opens a new office in Mountain View, California, this fall, the corporate might be prohibited by law from providing its staff the free, chef-cooked meals they at present get pleasure from on the Menlo Park headquarters eight miles away.

The metropolis of Mountain View, one of many cities of Silicon Valley and residential to Google’s headquarters, handed the free meals restriction in 2014 — although the rule covers solely a specific improvement the place Facebook is readying office area for two,000 staff.

Google gives its staff free meals in an on-site cafeteria and won’t be affected by the regulation.

It’s a small rule however one which highlights the rising pressure surrounding the influence that giant tech corporations are having on their communities. While tech corporations have created excessive paying jobs, they’ve additionally pushed up housing costs and prompted different complications, akin to heavy visitors.

“Many of these companies touted the boost their employees would have on our local economy, only to provide everything from round-the-clock gourmet catering to dry-cleaning on-site,” San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin stated in a press release.

The concept of guidelines towards free meals can also be taking off in San Francisco. A new ordinance proposed by two members of the town’s board of supervisors would prohibit free cafeterias in any future office buildings.

The ban on the quintessential Silicon Valley work perk is designed to get staff to depart the office and patronize native companies, Councilman John McAlister advised the Mountain View Voice earlier this 12 months.

“If you are taking up a serious a part of the property however giving individuals no cause to come back to the companies, that is not good for the sustainability of the realm,” he stated.

In San Francisco, the proposed ordinance wouldn’t have an effect on the present tech giants within the metropolis, like Uber and Twitter, which provide free meals to staff, however would prohibit them and another firm there from opening a free cafeteria in a new office area.

Free meals are “pretty standard in the tech industry, so people expect it,” stated Harry Glaser, CEO and co-founder of Periscope Data.

Glaser’s firm serves lunch and dinner Monday by means of Friday to 150 staff on the Periscope Data headquarters, simply down the road from a condensed space the place Uber, Twitter, Square and different tech giants have workplaces.

But there could also be a manner the place everybody wins.

Instead of counting on an in-house cafeteria to feed 150 staff, Glaser stated the corporate caters their meals from native eating places and everybody eats collectively at an extended communal desk.

“It’s cultural. I like that we have a lunch room and the whole team comes together and eats together,” he stated. “As the company gets bigger, we want to make sure we have an inclusive culture — whether you’re in sales or engineering, new or been here a long time.”

Dinner is served round 6:30 p.m. each night time, he stated, however nobody is anticipated to remain for it.

“It hasn’t been my experience that it keeps people working longer hours,” he stated. “But I know some companies have said that.”

Gwyneth Borden, government director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, stated the ordinance would not have an effect on corporations catering from native eating places, and is designed to as a substitute take intention at cafeterias.

“Employees that never leave their offices is of little economic benefit to the city around them if their companies are not purchasing food from local businesses,” she stated.

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