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How to Use Food to Welcome New Employees

Brandon Parry

March 17, 2017


Updated by Olivia Kelley on 3/6/2020

For new employees, the first day at a job can often be overwhelming and intimidating. Your new team members are likely receiving more information than they can process, trying to find their way around the office, and wondering who to sit with at the lunch table. Even after giving them an office tour and doing basic introductions, many people will still feel awkward for the first couple of days. 

Food is a great way to welcome new employees and make them feel a little more comfortable! If you’re an office manager or HR professional, there are a few ways you can go about this: You could bring in breakfast for the team and start your new team member’s day off right. You could bring in a special treat just for them. Or, you can have an office lunch with the whole team, giving everyone a chance to meet and engage with each other. 

No matter what you decide to do, you’ll want to make sure your welcome is effective by ordering something your employee likes! You’ll need to do a little digging beforehand, so make sure you are asking the right questions. Here is what you’ll need to know: 

Do they have any food allergies

How would you feel if you ordered pizza for someone’s first day, only to find out that they were allergic to dairy or gluten? Sounds like a major bust! There are eight allergens that account for the majority of allergic reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, so don’t take any chances! Find out ahead of time what foods to avoid.

Do they have any food restrictions

Food restrictions and food allergies are not one in the same. Some dietary restrictions are due to personal choice or religious beliefs. Remember, it is never appropriate (or legal) to ask why, but it’s still important to ask what your new employees can and can’t eat. We live in a diverse country with many different lifestyles, so always accept answers with respect and be accommodating.

Welcome New Employees With Their Favorite Foods

This information will help you really bring the welcome home, by catering to their specific preferences! If you’re wondering how to bring this up in a casual way, try asking them one of these fun questions:

  • If you had to pick one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
  • What dessert do you look forward to the most for special occasions? (you can keep this on file for birthdays and anniversaries!)
  • You are at Target with $5; what snack do you purchase? (great for office snack ideas)
  • What’s your drink of choice for happy hour? 

Asking about a new employee’s food preferences personalizes their welcome, and it’s a way to show that your company cares. An employee’s first day at work will be memorable, so make the best reminder of that day their favorite meal. If you need help putting it all together, just talk to one of our catering experts. We’ll take it from there! 



“ has been able to get our employees from all different departments together, to get away from our desks, recharge, and be able to return to our work, happy and full.”

—Ellen K., Employee Experience Specialist,