18 of the Best Office Lunch Ideas that’ll Bring Your Team Together

May 20

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With so many workday tasks to track, it’s not unusual that employees neglect to have a midday meal – either because they prioritize projects or they simply forget to eat.

Nutrition throughout the day is essential, however. A well-fed employee is able to focus better and finds it easier to remain engaged. Why not provide your crew with lunch from time to time? It’s a great way to show your appreciation, and it gives them an added boost to finish out their workday, satisfied and content. We’d like to share some popular employee lunch ideas to provide your colleagues with a nice round of mid-afternoon job fulfillment.

Some offices have been employing team snack and meal initiatives, and surveys show a 67% job satisfaction rating just by implementing the meal program. You may want to consider initiating such a service at your workplace.

Not all companies have the budget to provide daily meals for employees, but even the occasional company-provided lunch brings favorable results, like team building and collaboration. Take a look at some of these awesome team lunch ideas. We hope you’ll find some ideal options for your office.

1. Treat them to a taco bar 🌮

Except for maybe pizza, no office lunch idea is likely to be as popular as tacos. Put together a taco bar, or have one catered. The aroma of southwestern spices and seasonings and the sight of taco fixings laid out for all to enjoy will make mouths water and tummies happy.

Tacos make it easy to please a vegan just as readily as a meat-lover. Lay out ground beef, chicken, and even chorizo. Toss in a tub of sour cream, guacamole, and all the sauces. Have chopped onions, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, and shredded cheese at the ready, and you’ll be supplying your team with all the nutrients a body needs to keep them going throughout the day.

At around $15 per person, you can fulfill just about any dietary restriction while satisfying the entire workplace. 

Treat your team to a taco bar, offered on the Thriver marketplace, and have your next Mex feast delivered by thoroughly vetted catering providers.

2. Wrap it up between slices 🥪

Need a work-lunch idea for your group? You can’t do much better than sandwiches. Whether you want 6′-long party subs or individually paper-wrapped varieties, there’s a vendor fit to meet any between-the-bread (or wrap) demand. 

Most of our lunch providers cater sandwiches and wraps. Most also provide chips and drinks, and several have vegan-friendly options to make sure every member of your crew gets exactly what they want.

The nutritional value will differ depending on what you order, but the bread is sure to provide fiber. Whole-wheat options are also a good supply of iron and other essential minerals. 

At around $15 per meal, you’ll be giving them the perfect meal for those who just want to get back to it. 

3. Who doesn’t love pizza? 🍕

When it comes to lunch ideas for employees, you rarely go wrong with pizza. With so many options – of providers and ingredients – few things offer such a cornucopia of choices the way pizza does. From meat-lovers to vegetarians, no team member will be left out of the mix when pizza time rolls around.

On their own, single slices of this popular pie are high in fiber and contain the appropriate amount of fat and calories for a meal. Meat on the pizza adds protein. Additional veggies increase the nutritional value, from added fiber to iron and vitamin C – depending on what vegetables your crew decides to go with.

You’ll be giving your team a fan favorite for about $10-$15 per person.

Search for pizza on Thriver marketplace, where our vetted service providers ensure a great experience and sumptuous slices for your whole group.

4. Plate up some hors d’oeuvres? 🍢

Lunch doesn’t have to be a complete, multi-course meal in order to please your team. An array of finger foods can be a meal in itself and one terrific lunch idea for your office workgroup.

Serve up mini quiches, finger sandwiches, pigs in a blanket, and a charcuterie platter. Throw in some veggies and dip – celery, baby carrots, and olives – to balance out the meats and cheeses. 

Meat from the charcuterie tray and pigs in a blanket provides iron and protein. Most cheeses are rich in vitamin D and calcium. A selection of vegetables includes vitamin C, fiber, and several other essential nutrients. Plate them up right, and your crew will get all the nutrition they need to get on with their day.

Many local restaurants and food service providers offer some form of finger food option for delivery. Or make your search easier by locating a provider’s services offered on the Thriver marketplace and get your hors d’oeuvres just the way you like them.

5. A lasagna bake-off 🥧

Why not make a contest out of a fan favorite – lasagna? Many people are very proud of their lasagna recipe, and many people love eating lasagna. It’s a win-win lunch idea for employees.

Put out a sign-up sheet for the staff to enter their best lasagna into the contest. Bake a lasagna or two yourself – or enlist other leadership – if there aren’t enough entries to feed everyone. 

It would be unfeasible for each person to try each lasagna. Rather than award first, second, and third place, set up a point system. Each eater fills out a card (or online questionnaire), assigning points based on flavor, smell, and texture criteria. Tally up the total points for each person. 

When all the points for each entry are counted, award yellow, red, and blue ribbons – or bronze, silver, and gold medals – to the highest point values. There’s a strong likelihood of matching scores, so be prepared to pass out more than one of each award type.

The company can provide napkins, plates, and flatware.

We offer a vast array of catering service options on the Thriver marketplace if you prefer to forgo the planning, signup sheet, and just have a lasagna dinner. 

6. Bring in a buffet 🍱

It’s not uncommon for company staff to have a collective favorite restaurant. Often there’s a local place that most employees get excited about frequenting for lunch or dinner. A good number of restaurants of every variety offer buffet-style catering. For your next corporate lunch idea, have your group’s favorite food brought in and set up for them to line up and dish up.

Whether they enjoy Japanese, Italian, or good old American cuisine, there’s a place that will bring their best fare to your office. 

The nutritional value will differ based on what you select to have served, but your crew will most assuredly face the rest of their day blissfully having a free lunch.

Buffet-style can be as economical or extravagant as you wish. Typically running from $10 to $30 per plate, there’s an establishment to serve your budget.

Check out Thriver’s marketplace, where you can order lunches and catering services from trusted providers, all in one place.

7. Throw a potluck party 🍲

How about a corporate lunchtime idea where you do minimal setup and preparation? It’ll involve some effort on your part, but most of the work will be in the hands of your co-workers. Nothing beats an old-fashioned potluck party. 

Tack up a sign-up sheet, or – better yet – share a spreadsheet for each participant to enter what they intend to bring. If you choose to make a themed group lunch – like a nacho bar or summer picnic foods – decide what you’ll need ahead of time and list the options for team members to choose what they wish to bring. Pre-selecting the needed food items reduces the likelihood of people making duplicate foods. 

The cost to the company will be next to nothing. Maybe provide drinks, napkins, plates/bowls, and flatware. The rest is up to everyone who participates.

8. Sushi for the win 🍣

Sushi is a favorite in offices everywhere. From spicy rolls to the no-frill rolls, with so many varieties available, there’s one to fit every taste – however your crew likes to roll. 

Give your employees a sushi platter lunch. Many sushi restaurants cater, and they’re happy to bring their unique brand of joy to you. Rolled up in sticky rice or seaweed, dipped in soy sauce or wasabi – you’ll get your sushi just how you like it.

Many people find sushi delicious, but it’s also low in cholesterol and high in fiber. Rolls that contain fish will typically be high in omega-three fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin B2, iron, and several other essential minerals.

Typically, sushi runs higher than most catered food. Depending on your location, a sushi meal will cost around $10-$30 per person. 

Thriver offers many sushi options on the marketplace. Browse service providers in your area, and get your sushi delivered at the time and place of your choosing.

9. Hale, hearty and healthy 🥗

No idea list would be complete without an option for bringing in a healthy lunch for your office workers. Whether you opt to introduce your employees to vegan or vegetarian cuisine or wish to provide overall healthier options, numerous caterers and restaurants specialize in preparing only the most nutritious foods.

Meatless choices will most often include protein-rich meat substitutes and are usually high in vitamin C, iron, and fiber. Meals that include meat likewise provide a healthy protein boost. Fish options are also often high in omega 3 fatty acids. Nearly all health-conscious options are balanced to offer a plentiful supply of essential nutrients.

A good, healthy meal will typically run between $15 and $25 per plate, depending on your location and who you order from.

10. Nacho, nacho bar 🥑

Whether as a potluck, catered in, or ordered from a local restaurant, nachos are a winning idea for office lunches everywhere. Tortilla chips piled high with beans, veggies, sour cream, and guacamole are enough to bring tears of joy to anyone’s eyes – or that’s the jalapenos! 

Most places have the option to add the meat of your choice – usually ground beef, chicken, carnitas, or chorizo. Many outfits have options to please your vegan and gluten-free work friends so that everyone can enjoy this tasty treasure.

Depending on what you order, the nutritional value will differ. However, you can count on the beans to be excellent sources of protein and fiber and a superb supply of several essential vitamins and minerals – plenty of nutrition to spark an afternoon of productivity for you and your coworkers.

Typically ranging between $10-$15 per person, nachos are a scrumptious way to satisfy everyone’s workplace appetite.  

Search Mexican catering in your area on Thriver marketplace to inquire about doing up a nacho bar for the folks at your company.

11. Chicken dinner-style lunch 🍗

If your tam loves meat, fried chicken dinner for lunch will win them over. If you’re worried about the healthiness of such a meal, grilled chicken is a viable, more health-conscious option. Some places even do a breaded chicken bake, which employs all the best elements of a chicken dinner without submerging the food in cooking oil.

With side options like biscuits, cornbread, coleslaw, mashed taters and gravy, a chicken dinner is a sure-fire way to fill everyone’s belly and have a contented cadre of work chums.

Chicken is high in protein and low in fat – especially skinless chicken – and is rich in several essential minerals, including selenium and phosphorus. With side dishes like coleslaw, you add a healthy heaping helping of fiber to the mix. 

Depending on the side dishes, where you order from, and your location, a chicken dinner typically runs $5-$15 per plate. 

12. Breakfast for lunch 🥯

As far as lunch ideas for your office staff go, breakfast for lunch will be a bonafide winner. Serve up some flapjacks, eggs, waffles and bacon. Lay out fruit, syrup, and maybe some whipped cream, and give your crew a midday treat.

If you prefer to leave the prepping, plating and cleanup to someone else, several restaurants offer breakfast-anytime catering. You’ll have options like biscuits and gravy, country potatoes, scrambled eggs, and so much more to choose from – it almost seems like a no-brainer.

Most breakfast options are high in fiber. Your fruits are going to be replete with vitamins and minerals. Sausage and bacon are high in protein, iron, and essential minerals. 

At around $5-$15 per plate, breakfast for lunch is a reasonably economical way to please your coworkers and score some tasty points.

Take a look at these lunch options – including breakfast for lunch options – offered on the Thriver marketplace. 

13. Chili cookoff 🌶️ 🥣

How’s this as a lunch idea for your employees? Offer a first and second-place prize for the best bowl and have a chili cookoff. Select a time and date – winter in most places is the ideal time to have chili – tell your team to bring in their best pot of chili and host a friendly competition. 

Supply napkins, tasting cups, little spoons, and maybe some cooling drinks, and your employees will do the rest. Have them sign up, name their chili, and give their entry a number. Whether they brought chili or not, everyone goes through the line of chili pots with a tray or plate of tasting cups and puts a little bit in each cup. Put up an online poll and let each employee vote for their favorite. 

The winner gets a traveling trophy, a cash prize, or some other type of award that you decide, and second place a runner-up prize of some sort. 

You’ll be surprised. After everyone has tasted a dozen different chili recipes, they’ll be pretty full when it’s all over. They will have also consumed a healthy amount of fiber, protein, iron, and several other vital nutrients. 

There is little cost to the company. You’re looking at $1-$2 per person with napkins, tasting cups, drinks, and spoons. Possibly even less.

14. Company picnic 🍔

Consider a team picnic as a staff lunch idea if you have a rooftop patio or a large parking lot with room to block off space. If you don’t have space on-site, nearby parks often have an option to rent a pavilion or a picnic site for a few hours. Gather up your team. Fire up the grill. Bring soda, chips, and sides – like baked beans and potato salad – and have yourselves a nice lunch outdoors.

You can do it up potluck style, hire a caterer or put the whole thing on as a company. Either way, your team will enjoy a sunny, leisurely afternoon chomping burgers, brats and dogs, tossing horseshoes and building a sense of community. Set aside one end of the grill to fire up some Brussel’s sprouts, carrots and taters for your vegan friends. Keep some special buns handy for gluten-free teammates, and everyone will be able to enjoy their meal outdoors.

Nutritional value and budget will vary broadly, based on how you decide to throw the shindig and what foods you opt to include. Whatever way you choose to put together the company picnic, it’s a sure-fire way to bring everyone together.

Take a look at the Thriver marketplace to find an ideal food service provider that’ll flip those burgers and pile those plates, so you and the rest of the leadership can enjoy grubbing out with the rest of the gang.

15. Book a lunch out 🧑‍🍳

Who says you have to feed your group in-house? It’s not unusual to book a restaurant for a private event. Some offices will take their employees out with their manager or supervisor, letting each group pick their chosen place. 

It’s a  pricier workgroup lunch idea, with outings typically running $15-$25 per person, plus drinks. The nutritional value will vary based on what each person orders. However, dining out takes all the burden of setup and cleanup off your shoulders, and it allows your team to get to know each other better. The conversation will keep the lunchtime going and group unity will blossom.

16. Taste fest 🥘

This company lunch idea expands on the potluck concept. Rather than just signing up for items to bring, turn the event into a show-and-tell – or, rather, a show-and-taste. 

Many people have one food item that they believe nobody can make better than they can. Challenge your team members to bring in a food item (or food items) that they are most proud of.

A lunchtime event such as this provides an eclectic array of foods – from old family recipes to traditional foods of people’s national heritage. For those who don’t have a recipe, give them the chance to bring in pre-packaged food items, condiments, napkins, or another way to contribute.

The nutritional value varies based on what people decide to bring. The cost to the company is negligible and pays off by encouraging team unity and engagement.

17. Lunch and learn 🥡 🤓

This lunch idea is a different approach, not so much about what to serve but how to fill the time. Lunchtime is an opportunity to feed your crew’s bodies and minds with a lunch-and-learn team workshop.

Order pizza, cater in sushi or have box lunches delivered, and use the lunch hour as a time for a professional to educate them on a topic of your choosing – from stress in the workplace to communication strategies to diversity and inclusion. Put together your own presentation, or look at the vast array of learning and professional development opportunities offered on Thriver.

18. Gorge on gyros 🥙

Steamed pita bread, razor-thin slices of gyro meat, shrimps, feta, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions, and maybe some olives, and you have yourself an ace idea for an employee lunch. Quick to make and wonderful to eat, gyros are a beloved downtown lunchtime favorite in cities everywhere. 

Have gyros brought to your office, and watch your workmates savor this Mediterranean delight. At around $5-$15 per plate, you’ll be giving your employees a boost of protein and many other essential nutrients that’ll bolster their energy for the rest of the workday.

Bring your lunchtime needs to the Thriver marketplace. Our experienced Culture Experts thoroughly vet our catering providers so that you can find the best one for your next company meal.

We’ve joined forces with numerous caterers in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, San Jose, Toronto, and a growing pool of many other cities across North America. 

Join Thriver in our dedication to enhancing company culture everywhere. Whether you’re looking to give your staff a lunchtime treat, progress professional development, or surprise them with unexpected workplace gifts, we’ve got the goods.

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