The high price tag behind employee turnover

Think office snacks are expensive? Try paying a recruiter.

Pool tables. Gym memberships. Health insurance. Office lunch. The modern benefits package comes with an ever-growing list of glamorous office perks—and each one comes with a price tag.

The competition to attract top talent is steep—and new hires are fully aware of the leverage they hold. Where health insurance and paid leave was once a sound offer, companies now add office frills (think in-house chefs and unlimited vacation) to sweeten the deal. In a recent interview on expansion, ZeroCater CEO Arram Sabeti remarked, “The really tricky thing is not getting money anymore. The really tricky thing is getting great talent.”

In the 2011-2015 Global Talent Index, only 70 percent of C-level executives are either “highly” or “somewhat” confident they’ll be able to attract the talent they need over the next two years. Nearly a third of respondents reported dissatisfaction with new hires over past years.

The pool of sought-after talent is a shallow one, which means two things:

  1. Companies need to create an environment their employees will love to work in. A happy, productive workforce helps attract top recruits.
  2. When you bring in key people, do what you can to hold on to them.

If you cringe each time you look at your expense reports, just imagine the cost of losing the employees logging them.

Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, stated the cost of losing an employee can be 1.5-2X their annual salary. The higher ranking the employee, the more turnover hurts, but even low-paying or hourly positions come at a price. Studies have shown it costs 16 percent of annual salary to replace an individual making less than $30,000 per year.

Time to start making a big, fat Turnover section on your P&L.

So what is the cost of losing an employee, and how is this calculated?

The cost of hiring (even at the bare-minimum, a Craigslist ad has a cost) and onboarding (envision many a training block on your future calendar), coupled with screening, interviewing, and relocation are just the beginning. Bersin outlines other hidden costs, including:

  • Lost engagement (high turnover rates cause a sharp downturn in employee engagement)
  • Lost productivity (a seasoned employee is much more efficient than one who does not understand company policies and processes).

How do you cut down on the cost of employee turnover?

This may seem like an open-ended question, but the answer is quite simple: Make your work environment one no one wants to leave. Paid leave, work-from-home policies, and unlimited vacation promote a work-life balance and job flexibility. Game rooms, snack bars, and common areas bring teams together the same way water coolers once did (what an upgrade that was). Gym memberships, company FitBits, and in-house exercise classes promote healthy lifestyles in a fun, community-centered way.

Or you can always bring in free lunch—but hey, call us biased.

“You serve what??” Special Offerings from ZeroCater

Lunchtime should be an experience. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and there is no reason you shouldn’t explore your city’s food scene. We help you do just that—even when you’re still at the office.

We enjoy sampling the best BBQ, Mediterranean, breakfast tacos, and sweet treats across DC, Chicago, Austin, NYC, and the Bay area. Sure, we have our favorites—we could order fish tacos three days a week and never grow tired of them, and we all have a favorite sandwich vendor we’d try again and again.

That being said, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up. For the times we’re feeling adventurous, we throw a niche vendor into our weekly meal plan.

To give you a taste of our unique offerings, here are a few of our favorite items in each city:

New York City:

Hot Chocolate Bar, Victory Garden NYC

Victory Garden Hot Chocolate Bar

Chili Bar, Supper Pub

Chili Bar

Nitrogen Popcorn Bar, Vitella’s Catering

Nitrogen Popcorn Nitrogen Popcorn 2

Washington, DC

Arepas, ArepaZone

Arepa Zone

On-site Crepes, Muncheez


Laotian Meatballs, Sang on Wheels

Laotian Food


Hot Cocoa Bar, BabyCakes Gourmet

Hot chocolate bar

Shamrock Shakes, Bobtail Ice Cream

Shamrock Shakes

San Francisco

Star Wars Happy Hours

IMG_1110 IMG_1112 IMG_1111

Sports’ Themed Parties, Creative Ideas Catering

Superbowl catering from ZeroCater

Want to know what special offerings are available in your city? Speak to your ZeroCater team to find out what vendors we partner with.


Top 10 Chicago Winter Restaurants

By: Danielle Robertson

It’s winter in Chicago. You’re cold. You’re hungry. You’re not sure where to turn.

We’ve all been there—ignore your instinct to stock up on mac n’ cheese and go into hibernation. Instead, grab your friends, coworkers, or family members and hit up one of these local favorites. Whether you’re looking to embrace winter in the city, or hoping for a quick escape, Chicago has plenty to offer.

To embrace winter:

  • Bavette’s: Think tufted chairs, craft cocktails, and cozy booths that smell of rich mahogany. It just may be my favorite steakhouse in Chicago (bold statement).
  • RM Champagne: Walk down the alley to access this hip West Loop spot, a cool French bistro with a crackling fireplace and candles all around.
  • J Parker: View the Lincoln Park zoo lights and winter wonderland around you, all while safely enclosed in the rooftop dome. Feeling adventurous? Step outside and enjoy the fresh (errrr…freezing) air and fire pits.
  • Cindy’s: This renovated rooftop restaurant is located in the historic Chicago Athletic Association with great views of Millennium Park, complete with seasonal food and drink menu offerings.
  • Mindy’s Hot Chocolate: The name speaks for itself—grab a delicious dessert that will almost make you thankful for cold weather (and the indulgences that come with it).

To escape winter:

  • Summer House: There’s a Countdown to Summer calendar next to the bar, in case you need a visual reminder. The best part—you can sample from the amazing dessert display without worrying about swimsuit season.
  • Hampton Social: I don’t always spend summer in the Hamptons, but when I do, it’s at Hampton Social. Get that beachside vibe, even when there’s snow on the ground.
  • Eataly: Yes, it can be busy and touristy, but it’s wine and cheese, people! You can spend hours walking around, scoping out the merchandise and various restaurants. Enjoy lunch, snack, drinks, dinner, dessert, fourth meal—all without being exposed to the elements.
  • Bar Takito: Their bright colors, lively atmosphere and spicy food will warm you right up.
  • Three Dots and a Dash: Transport yourself back to the 50’s Tiki Culture in this underground restaurant and bar. Pro tip: Order the Treasure Chest.

What are your favorite winter spots? Tell us in the comments!

Danielle Robertson is a ZeroCater Account Executive in the Chicago Office.


ZeroCater Now Serving Austin, Texas

ZeroCater is officially open for business in Austin, Texas. After successfully launching in Chicago and Washington, DC in 2015, we are expanding south.

“Austin is a perfect home for ZeroCater‘s fifth office. Bustling businesses, paired with an incredible food scene, makes the lunch hour crucial for any employee in the city. ZeroCater is excited to meet our newest vendors and start feeding companies the best fare from local sources,” says Arram Sabeti, founder and CEO of ZeroCater.

What is ZeroCater?

ZeroCater helps build community in the workplace through family-style meals. We partner with top local food trucks, restaurants, and caterers in Austin to bring team lunch, breakfast, and happy hours directly to your office.

How does ZeroCater work?

ZeroCater makes it easy to feed your people. A dedicated Customer Success Coordinator custom-builds each menu to fit the tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions of your team. Each meal is delivered onsite to your office, and presented family-style to foster conversation and collaboration.

What can I expect from ZeroCater?

From breakfast tacos, Texas BBQ, curry, and everything in between—ZeroCater lets you sample the best bites in town. We collect feedback on each meal you receive, to bring a variety of cuisine to your office.

Food has always helped bring people together. To help foster collaboration between members of your team, request your first meal from ZeroCater.

Interested in requesting your first meal? | (512) 599-9711

Interested in becoming a vendor? | (512) 599-9712

To learn more visit



Building community in the workplace: Social Code

What does your office look like over the noon hour? Do your coworkers rush out to run errands, grab takeout, or a hit a quick workout at the gym?

Food has always helped bring people together, so when did lunch become the time the conversation stops? Gather your team around the table to help build a sense of community at the office. When Social Code joined with sister company Trove, they brought the two teams together through happy hours and team lunches. Here’s how they did it:

The Client:

SocialCode is a technology and insights company that manages digital advertising for leading consumer brands. Founded in 2010, their platform helps clients maximize ad spend across a variety of social channels including Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. SocialCode supports clients like Nestle, Capital One, and Macys optimize performance and report ROI across large campaigns.

The Challenge:

SocialCode provides team meals each Wednesday at their headquarters in Washington, DC. To alleviate the planning behind weekly lunches, office manager Kellie Soto started a relationship with ZeroCater in summer of 2015. Sotto enjoyed the convenience, while the SocialCode team enjoyed the variety of delicious food provided by ZeroCater’s vendor partners.

In November, SocialCode announced they were integrating with sister company Trove to accelerate their software development. Thirty-nine engineers, designers, and product professionals were added to SocialCode’s team overnight. To encourage the two teams to collaborate and feel comfortable in their new environment, SocialCode turned to ZeroCater for help.

The Results:

SocialCode increased their meal frequency with ZeroCater to help merge the two teams. Kellie coordinated a happy hour to celebrate the integration, as SocialCode welcomed their new team members.
“It was extremely important to us to create a welcoming open-arms environment. Our Office Operations team worked closely with ZeroCater to have awesome lunches delivered more frequently to further build a sense of community. This gave employees a platform to get to know one another better and also got folks even more excited to come to work each day,” said Kellie Soto, Manager of Office Operations.

In the eighteen months leading to the integration, SocialCode’s business more than doubled. Team meals will continue to build community as the company expands.

There are No Titles at the Lunch Table

By: Jesse Osborne

At ZeroCater, we provide team lunch for 100 employees across five cities Monday through Friday. Yesterday, an associate asked what would happen if it all went away.

Without realizing it, I said, “If we didn’t share lunch each day, I wouldn’t know half the people who work here.”

I was a ZeroCater client before I became a ZeroCater employee. I initially sought out the service—selfishly—as a way to keep my sales team in the office through the lunch hour. On average, my account executives were taking sixty-minute lunch breaks. I calculated I could gain back thirty minutes of their time with in-office lunch.

It worked. Better yet: The promise of continued team lunches turned out to be the best incentive offered since a tiered commission schedule.

What I used as a source of bribery for my sales team, other companies use to help fuel ideas. At Google, team lunches have lead to the launch of new products such as Gmail, as casual conversations lead to team collaboration. The ZeroCater headquarters is always at its loudest when lunch is served. Very rarely will you see dialogue happen so organically.

Starting a new job is intimidating. It does not matter how outgoing or personable you may be—the first day will push you out of your comfort zone. When I joined ZeroCater, I committed to building a revenue team where each individual felt welcome from day one. In the past month, my sales team grew by 21. On their first day, each sat down to lunch and jumped right into the conversation.

Over half the country says they stay at their place of employment because they like the people they work with. Just how valuable do you think these conversations are?

Cornell University recently surveyed teams of firefighters who ate meals together. The findings showed team meals not only helped the firefighters bond, but improved team performance. I don’t want my team sharing meals so they’ll discuss current projects—that’s what meetings are for. I want to hear conversation surrounding their weekend plans or the big game, so when the time comes for two departments to align, the ice has already been broken.

Lunch is the only time you’ll see an intern sitting next to the CEO. It’s also the easiest way for directors to be on a first-name basis with individuals across multiple departments. What started as my attempt to squeeze a few extra cold calls out of my sales team, has turned into a community-building tool unmatched by anything I’ve previously tried.

Leave your PowerPoints, pitches, and business cards in the conference room—there are no titles at the lunch table.

Where You Can Brunch on New Year’s Day in DC

A three-day brunch weekend? Sold.

2015 will be remembered as the year the calendars were forever in our favor. First, we earn ourselves a three-day workweek with Christmas falling on a Friday. Then, a four-day week commences with New Year’s Day coming this Friday (or a second three-day blitz for the incredibly lucky).

Whatever Thursday night may bring, there is one cure for Friday morning: a boozy brunch. We love our bottomless mimosas in this city, and this week you can raise your champagne class to the Brunch Trifecta. To guide you through the bacon and pancakes goodness of the District, we’ve lined up our top picks for New Year’s Day Brunch.

Footy pajamas, optional.

The Black Squirrel Adams Morgan

The well-known bar in AdMo is opening at 11a.m New Years’ Day for their Lucky Brunch. Each item on the themed menu falls in line with lucky forklore, including black-eyed peas, cornbread, and even doughnuts (hey, they never said it was a New Year’s resolution brunch, did they?).

Medium Rare Cleveland Park and Capitol Hill

Medium Rare is the hidden gem of bottomless brunch—for just $25, you get unlimited beverages, a starter, and an entrée. Who knew that kind of deal still existed in DC? Both locations are offering a pajama-party style brunch, so break out that onesie and book a reservation.

Ri Ra, Georgetown Georgetown

Start your 2016 off with the luck of the Irish by stopping at Ri Ra in Georgetown. The pub is offering a free mimosa bucket to all patrons who bring in their receipt from the night before.

Satellite Room U Street Corridor

While mimosas and Bloody Marys are the go-to morning cure, Satellite Room has blessed us all with their boozy milkshakes. Stop by at 1 p.m. to for their Recovery Brunch, and wash it down with your favorite adult dessert.

Bus Boys and Poets Multiple locations

Bus Boys and Poets’ breakfast menu is delicious any day of the week, but it’s rare you get to enjoy it in your pajamas. Go to any of their locations for their Pajama Brunch on Friday and try one of their many eggs Benedicts or omelets.

Shaw Tavern Shaw

Shaw is opening early at 10:30 Friday morning to offer their gastropub breakfast fare to its customers. Stop by for cornbread chicken and waffles, Bailey’s battered French toast, or shrimp and grits to start the New Year off right.

Where will you be heading for New Year’s Day brunch on Friday? Tell us in the comments!

You might also like: The Best Bottomless Brunch Deals in DC

Five tips to boost productivity (and the apps that do it for you)

The average workweek is 47 hours long—much higher than the perceived 40 hours on your timestamp. Unless you want to spend (even) more time at the office, it’s vital to work smarter, not harder. You can improve your productivity by getting more sleep, or following the ‘two minute rule,’ but I wanted to share a handful of my favorite timesaving hacks:

  1. Don’t drink your morning coffee until you arrive at work

Listen, I love working at ZeroCater, I really do, but I’m NOT a morning person. I find it easier to drag myself out of bed if I know a great cup of coffee is coming soon. Delaying that first cup of joe until you arrive at work helps make you incredibly pumped to make that morning commute.

2. Take frequent breaks

When we get wired in, we often forget to get up and move around. Our recent visit from Habit’s @ Work encouraged us to break this routine in our ZeroCater Chicago office. Each hour a timer goes off, and every employee is reminded to stand up and get the blood flowing. I genuinely believe this gets our entire team working much more efficiently on a daily (and hourly!) basis.

3. Organize your inbox

There is no rule that says emails should be treated as a first come, first serve basis. Emails from your boss should come in marked as such, and be listed towards the top of your inbox. Emails for receipts and newsletters should have their own folders, and be stored for later reading. I organize my incoming emails inside Google Apps For Business with a combination of labels, filters, and importance ranking.

4. Set calendar reminders and alerts:

There’s no reason to ever be late on an assignment, forget to send an email, or follow up on an action item—particularly when you have a personal assistant in your pocket. Utilize personal and professional calendars, setting reminders, alerts, and deadlines. Take it a step further by using project-managing solutions like Trello, or ZeroCater’s favorite, Asana.

5. Apps, extensions, programs, oh my!

I wanted to end with a handful of pieces of software I use on a daily basis to make life easy at work. Most are available as Chrome extensions or on a variety of other platforms.

  1. uBlock Origin: My top choice for blocking unwanted (and distracting) ads.
  2. Disconnect: Stop letting so many cookies and advertising platforms track you around the net. Browse faster and privately with Disconnect.
  3. LastPass: One password, for everything—LastPass manages your logins so you don’t have to remember every single one.
  4. Pocket: See an article you want to read later on your mobile device? Click one button inside Chrome, and it’ll sync the article to your phone.
  5. Clearly: Reading an article on a hideous page? Click the Clearly icon to make it pretty, and very readable.
  6. Mouse Gestures: There are hundreds of applications that help you use mouse gestures, but I’ve linked the one I use. The concept is simple: simultaneously move your mouse and hold down the right click to close tabs, move forward in browsers, or close out.
  7. TeamViewer: I’m often on more than one computer during the course of the day. I can access files from a home computer, or even hop on remote coworkers’ workstations while I’m away.
  8. Skitch: Need to quickly grab a screenshot from your monitor? Use Skitch to add text, draw an arrow, or even upload the image for quick sharing.
  9. PushBullet: This app helps you push a document from your PC over to mobile quickly, or vice versa.
  10. IFTTT: Want a text every time it’s going to rain? Want your Fitbit activity logged in a Google Sheet? Want your phone to log how long you’re at work daily? For (almost) all your needs, “If This, Then That” is the service for you.

There is an endless supply of tips when it comes to increasing productivity. I make sure to follow Reddit’s /r/lifeprotips and /r/productivity feeds to keep in touch with the latest hacks. Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!

What restaurants does ZeroCater partner with?­­

Of all the questions we get asked from our clients, this is—by far—the most frequent.

ZeroCater partners with hundreds of vendors across The San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Austin, New York, and Washington, DC. We use the word vendor when describing our partners as the list extends far beyond a typical brick and mortar restaurant— it encompasses food trucks, caterers, pop-up kitchens, and even private chefs.

We believe strongly in supporting independent, local businesses—which is why we do not partner with national chains. While you may find your favorite neighborhood café listed in our vendor network, there will be many more names you may not recognize.

How do you choose your partners?

We search for top-rated, locally-owned partners. We conduct a vendor tasting for each partner in our network, so you know we’ll never serve something we did not enjoy ourselves. Some of our partnerships come from client referrals, so if you have a preferred restaurant in your city, by sure to let us know.

Our extensive onboarding program evaluates vendor presentation, timeliness, courtesy to clients, and attention to detail. Did the vendor provide plates, napkins, and utensils? Did the food arrive hot? Was each dish correctly labeled? These are the items we look for in a vendor, beyond food taste and quality.

What cuisine types do you offer?

Our vendor network is comprised of over 30 cuisine types, which vary from city to city. Some of our client’s favorite meals include Mediterranean, Indian, sushi, New American, BBQ, Asian fusion, Peruvian, and Mexican.

What if we want breakfast or happy hour appetizers?

No problem. We include vendors for each meal of the day—breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and even dessert. Breakfasts are in high-demand, so you’ll be able to choose from a hot bar (think breakfast casseroles and pancakes) or continental (bagels with specialty cream cheese, yogurt parfaits, and fresh fruit). Many of our vendors will offer variations to their lunch menu for happy hour, such as meatballs, vegetarian sushi, and kabob skewers. Our dessert vendors vary widely, from your local bakery to crepe and s’mores bars.

How do I see your vendor list in my city?

Contact your Customer Success Coordinator—we’re more than happy to build a sample menu for you! Or, if you’d like a glimpse into a few of the restaurants, food trucks, and caterers we partner with; check out our Vendor Spotlight column on the ZeroCater blog.

See Also: Twenty vendor partners reach $1 million in sales through ZeroCater

Vendor Spotlight: CatHead’s BBQ

Everyone has their favorite type of BBQ—whether it’s the bold flavors of Texas brisket, or the tasty tomato-based Kansas-style everyone has grown to love. There is one thing every CatHead’s BBQ patron will agree on—Richard and Pam Schafer do it all deliciously!

Located in SOMA near the 101 FWY, CatHead’s BBQ is a stone’s throw away from the Mission and Downtown. This husband and wife duo have been smoking up some serious BBQ in San Francisco since 2008 as a pop-up, but opened the doors to their SOMA location in January of 2012. As you walk through their entrance on Folsom Street, you are greeted with the sweet and smoky flavors of BBQ. The fun, country vibe can be attributed to the reclaimed Petaluma barn wood used throughout the venue. Pam maintains two large BBQ pits throughout the day, a rare find in San Francisco.

Richard and Pam put a twist on what they call “good country cooking.” This theme is evident throughout their menu, from their sweet tea BBQ chicken to their habanero or mustard slaw. A ZeroCater favorite is their pimento mac and cheese, which has just enough kick to set it apart from any mac and cheese you have had before. Their Coca-Cola smoked brisket is another crowd pleaser, made in one of their two pits and smoked to perfection. Their famous homemade CatHead biscuits with honey butter and pepper jam is enough to have every serious BBQ lover coming back for more.

If you’re in San Francisco and looking for amazing BBQ, visit CatHead’s at 1665 Folsom Street—open everyday of the week except Tuesday!