Before I proceed, I must disclose that that I know a couple of Google employees. They are good people, I might add. I'm also a regular Google user. Then again, who isn't?

Google has tried to be the perfect company. Not only are many of its products free, it also aims to be one of the most generous employers around. Whether the first notion is sustainable is another topic for another time, but it definitely looks like Google still needs to work on the second one.

I encourage you to read 'How Google's Cafes Turned Into Hell's Kitchens' and its related articles on Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag. However, if you're pressed for time, here's how Google failed at keep its restaurant workers and customers happy.

1.) Free-food policy: Google wanted to use meals to reward their employees. At first this seemed like a fabulous idea. But then not only did fellow Googlites take the perk for granted but also the cooks and kitchen staff who provide the perk to them. I'm not sure Google considered the nature of humans here. This led to...

2.) Employee dissatisfaction: Most of the staff, including noted chefs Josef Desimone and Nate Keller, jumped from the sinking ship. Apparently the adverse treatment by fellow Googlites was a big factor.

According to the article, Google employees were so arrogant that even food-service provider Bon Appétit may sever its relationship with the organization. Speaking of Bon Appétit...

3.) Conflict of interest: Then-new director of operations John Dickman is married to Bon Appétit's Lisa McEuen, who won the Google contract when it was in play. Dickman is no longer with the company.

Now Google employees might not even get free meals anymore, and Google's reputation is taking a hit. If you thought Google was perfect, think again!

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Tags: cafes, customer, employee, google, satisfaction


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Comment by restaurantdotorg on August 30, 2008 at 12:44pm
I failed to clearly note that the above situation is taking place at the Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. I hate to make blanket statements, but my understanding is that generally Silicon Valley-ers carry a sense of entitlement around with them.
Comment by David Mark on August 30, 2008 at 11:39am
Erin, I'm with you. People are funny sometimes. What I really mean, besides being comedic, is people are dumb-founding. Are you freaking kidding me? Employee dissatisfaction? Merely the thought of a free crappy lukewarm veggie burger on day old bread sounds good to me on occasion. Especially considering the fact it costs me the equivalent of a small countries GNP to fill my gas tank these days.

It's sad if this story is, in fact, true. Am I missing something here, or is the idea of whining about free food ridiculous and downright pathetic? Free food is a great perk for someone who gets a paycheck. Think of the folks (outside of Googleplex) who work paycheck to paycheck and have to buy their own lunch. I get folks in that part of the country may be spoiled, err, uhh, I mean acclimated to expect grandiose rewards, but that's not a license to be a jerk. Try being grateful and humble regardless of the quality in food your employer graciously provides you.

I guess I'm a little sensitive about this subject because I see hungry families weekly at the food bank where I volunteer. Then again, I boldly claim everyone should be.
Comment by Adam R. Cox on August 29, 2008 at 9:41am
When I worked for a company that did outsource work for Apple, we were trained for 2 weeks @ Apple HQ. We at the the main campus a couple of times. It was so wonderful. I would have been a bus boy to be able to eat there. Sushi Bar, Salad Bar (not your normal one either), pizza station where they put your item into the open stone oven. It was so wonderful.

I also worked at Nike as a full employee. That was not good. It has gotten better. (97-2000) It was your basic fair. I had thought that being Nike, they would have a lot more. I had made a comment once while in line and a person behind me told me off. I related her my comments about Apple and my background. That kinda shut her up.

I think that when your the big dog and making fists of cash with no due diligence, stuff like this happens like at Google.

It would be interesting to see how BA and Google could re-invent themselves in the food world. Grumpy employees don't make for a happy workplace.




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