How a Picnic-Inspired Office Lunch Can Help Prevent the Summertime Slump

Posted by on Thursday, July 31st, 2014 with 6 Comments

Ah, these long mid-summer days: lounging by the pool, strolling through a farmer’s market, hitting up the driving range, long bike rides… and sitting at your desk, working away, just like you do all year long.

OK, maybe that last one isn’t everyone’s idea of a perfect summer day. But regardless of the weather outside, life in the office — a meeting, a deadline, the same old office lunch — goes on. And on. And on.

Let’s put it this way: The New York Times just published a crowdsourced sonnet about summer in the office… and the first line begins “How like a prison is my cubicle.”

Everyone knows that summertime in the office can be a real drag. Employees are mentally checked out before their big vacation, or trying to catch up from the time off they took earlier in July. Those with kids are getting ready for back to school, and meanwhile, the sunshine and warm weather makes everyone want to just be outside!

fish tacos and elote as office lunch

Fish tacos & elote are unexpected choices for an impromptu picnic!
Image source: Flickr user joo0ey

Obviously, this summertime slump is not ideal for employers who care about employee engagement and productivity. So take a page from the research on how to improve employee morale, and take the small step of staging an impromptu company picnic, in the middle of the week, for no reason at all.

But don’t just order pizza or Chinese takeout: make it special, and obviously out of the ordinary! Plan a menu of picnic-inspired summery dishes, play a little music in the break room, and give everyone a chance to socialize and kick back for an hour. If you have an outdoor space nearby (like a courtyard or park), even better. Break up the routine, and thank everyone for their hard work!

If you aren’t inspired yet, read on: we’ve rounded up a list of some delicious, refreshing, and oh-so-summery dishes that will make your office lunch a rousing success. Pick and choose to create your own perfect summer menu!


Watermelon & feta salad — a little tangy, a little sweet, and completely refreshing

Elote — this Mexican street food staple is a spicy take on traditional corn on the cob

Caprese salad — fresh tomatoes are at their peak right now, so take advantage!


Fish tacos — because they’re way more festive (and lighter) than traditional chicken or beef

Salmon — wild Pacific salmon is never fresher than this time of year

Paella — the Spanish consider this beautiful medley of seafood, chorizo, and rice a classic picnic food (and so should you!)


Soba noodle salad — a salad of chilled Japanese buckwheat noodles makes for an unexpected riff on traditional pasta salad

Tabbouleh — this Middle Eastern salad is a flavorful mix of tomatoes, onion, bulgur, and fresh parsley

Succotash — a Native American dish starring summer favorites like corn, sweet peppers, lima beans, and zucchini


Strawberry shortcake — cake, fresh berries, whipped cream… you can’t really go wrong with this classic summer dessert

Chocolate cream pie — a refreshing, melt-resistant treat for chocolate lovers

Mango sticky rice — this beloved Thai dessert pairs fresh mangos with rice sweetened with coconut milk

If you want to boost the energy levels in a weary workplace, don’t settle for a boring old office lunch! A menu of summery dishes served for just-no-reason will help employees know their work is appreciated, and might be just the kickstart your team needs this time of year. Whether you go for a Mexican-themed fiesta or a traditional American picnic, you can order the perfect menu — and enjoy convenient delivery — from the company catering experts at!

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!

6 responses to “How a Picnic-Inspired Office Lunch Can Help Prevent the Summertime Slump”

  1. Lauren says:

    Who wouldn’t want to be outside in the gorgeous summer weather? What a great idea– if my company had spontaneous summer picnics, I would be a lot happier. I love watermelon-feta salad, you had me at refreshing!

    • Sara says:

      Agreed – any excuse to get outside is a good one… but watermelon-feta salad is a great one! 😉

  2. J.Joyce says:

    I think this is a great idea and gives employees a much needed break and bonding time. My director recently hosted a team meeting at a local pub and rec center. In a few weeks we will have our all employee summer picnic. It’s fun to take a break and get together. Unfortunately, we won’t be dining on as delicious foods as are in your post.

    • Sara says:

      Glad to know your employer is on board with treating employees to bonding time! It really can make a difference in morale and investment – and like you note, it doesn’t have to be gourmet food to have a sizable effect!

  3. ryasnryan says:

    After reading this I was really in the mood for some Elote, there really is nothing like that Mexican style corn. I feel really inspired by this post, for my next barbeque or picnic I’m going to strive for the menu to have this much personality.

    • Sara says:

      Glad to be of inspiration! Sometimes the idea is all it takes to take your menu to the next level. Not that there’s anything wrong with hot dogs, hamburgers, and mac & cheese, of course 😉