Enjoying a Team Meal Goes a Long Way: why and how you should start eating with Coworkers, if you don’t already!

Taking a lunch break with co-workers is a thing of the past; stopping what you’re doing at work to sit down at a table and eat with colleagues has almost become a luxury. Some companies don’t even have a spot within their building to eat on site meals together.

Let’s start off with all the reasons coworkers might NOT want to eat together. One might say, “eating with my peers is a waste of time”, or “it’s too costly to go out with work contacts when I’m on a budget and would prefer to prioritize other relationships”, or “less time spent at my desk during the day, requires more time spent after hours,” or even “taking time to eat with my co-workers leaves me distracted and negatively effects my productivity rate.” Sure, those points are heard; however, with a change in mindset, one will soon realize that the benefits outweigh the aforementioned concerns.

Diving into the benefits, there are many reasons coworkers should WANT to eat together. Shared meals with coworkers help to foster an intimate connection. An intimate connection leads to a deeper relationship. A deeper relationship is based upon a bond. That bond can be incredibly powerful and motivating, and leads to a more cohesive unit. Frankly, these kinds of relationships are required for long term professional success. Additionally, a defined break is proven to recharge one’s mind and body, actually boosting productivity. Such a “work break” among coworkers opens up communication; it can lend to a friendly tone in casual exchanges and respectful dialogue during stressful projects. Through connecting at mealtimes, one can also stay involved in workplace happenings, and establish a network per se.

Family relationships take effort, and so do professional relationships. If you do not feed them each the right nutrients, they cannot grow.

A few suggestions to be successful in efforts to eat with co-workers:

  • Avoid spots with crowded loud, lines
  • Select a sit-down location where you can hear one another
  • Be aware of food allergies
  • Be willing to join your co-worker for a mid-day coffee or accompany them on a walk to pick up a meal
  • Plan co-worker food and drink outings in advance to accommodate different busy schedules

That being said, Sidewalk Food Tours checks the above five boxes, and makes for a great team building exercise in the cold or warm times!

5 Benefits of Team Building Activities (Yes, they’re worth it!)

Team building activities can be fun, but are they really effective? Are they worth the investment?

You’ll do whatever it takes to create a better, more efficient work environment, but is there solid evidence of increased teamwork and communication as a result of team building activities? Here are 5 things Team Building Activities can do for you:

1) Boost Morale

Variety is the spice of life. Getting out of the office to share a new experience can breathe life into a team and revitalize communication. If you’re always in the same routine chances are you’re facing the same challenges day in and day out. Switching things up and spending time together in a new environment can give you a new perspective. When you come back to the routine you just might have inspired a spark of creative thinking that will give your company the boost it needs. And why not enjoy a delicious meal while you’re at it?

2) Encourage Better Communication

Getting out of the usual circles of communication can encourage people to get to know coworkers they might not work with all of the time. The team can benefit from building natural, long lasting relationships, starting somewhere without the pressures of the work environment. When these relationships develop organically in a relaxed context, they are much more likely to promote bonding.

3) Build Familiarity and Trust

Sometimes it’s easy to stay in your shell at work. And while not everyone is a social butterfly, team building activities can promote better engagement from each team member and open people up to a new level of comfort. You can become more familiar with everyone as you see a new side of them emerge. As a result, trust can be built that will lead to stronger bonds and increased productivity. Better team engagement means better teamwork.

4) Make Memories and Create an Office Culture

Days spent with team building activities leave a long lasting impact. Your team not only bonds during, but even afterwards as you look back on a foundational moment. Set the tone for your office and it will have an exponential impact as it makes the workplace comfortable and encouraging.

5) Have Tons of Fun!

What better way to bond than to share a delicious variety of food with someone? Our tours are enjoyable for all and we promise you’ll leave a happy (and very full) team!

Eating Together, Working Together

If the old saying “families who eat together stay together” is true, how about applying that philosophy to your workplace? When you’re thinking about your next team-building activity, consider the power of an excursion with Sidewalk Food Tours to connect colleagues.

Everyone loves a good meal, and it’s even better when you can share the food with others. At the workplace, this could be as easy as going out for lunch or sitting in the breakroom together over sandwiches. But those gatherings usually involve only two people, maybe three or four. How about the whole enchilada, as it were?

Food tours are a great way to build camaraderie among your team. Here, a group enjoys pizza from Pizzeria Delfina in the Mission District of San Francisco. At center is Pizzeria Delfina proprietor Craig Stoll, a James Beard Award winner.

The popular blog TeamBonding believes an off-site meal is a great way to encourage camaraderie among co-workers: “Sharing food and having fellowship with the people you work with will greatly enhance creativity and communication skills.”

Research also supports the notion that teams sharing food will share a stronger bond in the workplace. For instance, a group from Cornell University published a study in 2015 in which they analyzed station meals among firefighters. They found that firefighters who ate together in turn worked better together because they felt a stronger connection to each other — “ideal work groups or platoons functioned like ideal families.”

Another great reason to do a team-building food tour is to foster friendships or at least social bonds in the workplace. When peers share a connection beyond working at the same place, it improves their mood and outlook on their jobs.

Thus, taking your team on a food tour is the perfect opportunity to create meaningful connections. People might find they share a love, or distaste, of a certain food. They might even share a familial connection with a particular dish or cooking style. They might not realize they were in such close proximity to restaurants they really enjoy. And with Sidewalk Food Tours, we go beyond the plates and offer guests an insider’s tour of a particular neighborhood, giving them new insights into the places they call home.

Sidewalk Food Tours operates in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Paris, France. We have many options to suit your team’s needs, including flexibility on the days and times when tours run. Visit www.sidewalkfoodtours.com to learn more.

5 Things to Expect on a Food Tour

Do you ever get tired of bringing your day of exploring to a halt, just to search yelp reviews and argue about where to eat? You’re not alone (and there’s a better way!)
Whether you’re visiting for the weekend, or you’ve lived in the city you’re whole life, Food Tours are the way to go.
It’s simple: Eat, learn, walk, repeat. On your walking tour you’ll meet your knowledgeable guide who will not only give you insider secrets about the neighborhood and best bites to eat, they’ll get to know you as well. But there’s so much more!
Here are 5 things you can expect on a Sidewalk Food Tour:
1- The Best Eats
We’re not messing around here. Just because you get to try all kinds of foods, don’t think we’re going to give you anything less than the best!
We’ve hand picked our favorite local foods to create a tasting lineup that is nothing short of delicious. It’s enough for a full meal!
Fewer things taste better than an authentic family recipe. Many of our tastings include restaurants that have been in the family for generations- some more than 100 Years! And don’t worry, we’ll throw in some of the hot new spots as well.
2- Secret Spots
There is so much to see in NYC! Chances are while you’ve been running around you’ve missed some of the best parts of this incredible city. As locals and experts, we’ll give you insights that reveal whole new worlds within little known streets and whole-in-the-wall restaurants.
3- Century old Stories
Whether your a history buff or you could care less- our tours take you back in time to experience the grandest stories on the actual streets that they took place! You’ll walk along the same sidewalks as celebrities, gangsters, artists, politicians, immigrants, film-makers and icons. Our talented guide will bring the streets to life in ways you would never experience with a travel guide. Just give them your ears and imaginations and they’ll give you an experience to remember.
4- Variety (The Spice of Life)
Old and new, savory and sweet, hot and cold, spicy and mild, there is something for everyone on our tours! Many people tell us that they never would’ve tried something without coming on our food tour, and now it’s made it to their all time favorite food list.
Your guide will take you on a journey through the rich history, culture, and cuisine of the city. You’ll taste all sorts of flavors, stopping periodically at local restaraunts or food trucks, bizarre sights, and exciting landmarks. Around each corner is something different, and as my mother always says- “Variety is the Spice of Life!”
5- The Freedom to Take it All In
Forget google maps, Uber, getting lost, or tourist traps. On our food tours you can relax and let us take care of everything for you. Just follow the leader through beautiful neighborhoods and every once in a while food will appear! The Magic of it is- you get all the best selections with none of the work. You’re free to take photos, listen to stories, be present, take it all in, and live your life!