How Catered Finger Food and Pastries Create Good Will in Stakeholder Relationships

Posted by on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 with Comments Off on How Catered Finger Food and Pastries Create Good Will in Stakeholder Relationships Comments

Macarons can be just the thing to brighten the day at your office

Macarons can be just the thing to brighten the day at your office.
Photo by Takeshi Kuboki

I used to use food as an incentive when I worked as a private investigator. If I was going to someone’s house to interview them and they were a reluctant witness, I would always show up with a selection of finger food or pastries, depending on the time of day. It was a great ice breaker. Often, by the end of the visit, they had spilled their guts and they had reciprocated by filling mine with some wonderful homemade treats. Maybe it was my lovely personality working its magic, but sharing food sure didn’t hurt.

Human interaction, especially in the workplace, is all about give and take. To build good relationships with all of your internal and external stakeholders, you need to give more. Sometimes offering someone a donut or a cookie is just the thing to brighten another humdrum day. As the boss, it’s especially important to build strong connections with the people who work for you.

Healthy food is great. We highly recommend it, but sometimes you and the people who surround you just need that sugar fix. When everyone is getting crabby, that’s the time to order in some treats and make everyone a little bit sweeter. Sugar increases dopamine, and you need that when you’re stressed from a tense business meeting. Your stakeholders need that, too!


As a private investigator, I spent 16 years sitting in a vehicle on surveillance, eating alone. What I ate didn’t really matter, since it was just fuel. However, I missed the camaraderie of sharing food with my colleagues.

When I moved up to management, I had the power to say to my assistant, “Everyone is feeling the pressure today, let’s order in some of those amazing pastries.”  That small gesture made a huge difference because everyone was working alone in their office and for a brief period, we all gathered together. Our impromptu meeting helped us strategize how to get through the rest of the day and we were able to prioritize our work together.

I recognized the power of food and I used it to my advantage when I was negotiating with contractors. People in the P.I. industry prefer to do business over the phone or by email, but if you mentioned that you were coming to their office and that a delivery of their favorite catered treats would be arriving at approximately the same time, they made time.

How did I know what they liked to snack on? I did a bit of due diligence. That is negotiation 101.

Most human interactions involve negotiation  and we use food to get people over to our side. Most of us intuitively know this, but it’s always handy when our feelings are backed up by studies.

Lakshmi Balachandra is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College and a Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She conducted a study to determine whether business negotiations are more effective when people discuss business over food. Laksmhi had 132 MBA students negotiate a simulation of a joint agreement between two companies. The students who negotiated over a meal “created significantly increased profits compared to those who negotiated without dining”.

It’s common for managers to ask their administrative staff to order in some fabulous food whenever current or potential business partners are coming into the office. Why not treat your regular shareholders in the same manner? As a manager, you have to learn to develop your soft skills, and part of that means using available resources to make people feel comfortable. One way to encourage the growth of communication is by placing food in between two or more people.

Allowing your office to indulge in tasty treats or using food as a strategic advance doesn’t have to be yet another task on your to-do list. You already have a busy day, so why not make it easier? Forget asking your administrative assistant to stop at the local donut shop on the way to work. Instead, turn to so your employees can enjoy some fresh catered muffins for morning break or a platter of cookies for the afternoon slump, delivered straight to your office. Think of us as your business partner. We help you gain the competitive advantage because we are leaders in our industry. It’s fast and easy to order online or by phone.

Bring your work family together over a meal of fresh and enticing food delivered to your lunch room. is the premier on-line restaurant ordering service serving the San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Dallas, Chicago and Raleigh regions. We collaborate with over 1300 restaurants to deliver a variety of dietary choices and ethnic feasts.

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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