How the Googleplex Works

Google Food for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Employees can enjoy organic food and beverages, including fresh coconut milk, at Google cafeterias.
Employees can enjoy organic food and beverages, including fresh coconut milk, at Google cafeterias.
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One of the most often cited perks of working at Google is the food. Google feeds its employees well. If you work at the Googleplex, you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner free of charge. There are several cafés located throughout the campus, and employees can eat at any of them. The main café is Charlie's Place. The café takes its name from Google's first lead chef, Charlie Ayers. Before creating meals for Googlers, Ayers was the chef for the Grateful Dead.

Although Ayers left Google in 2005, the café still bears his name. The café has several stations, each offering different kinds of cuisine. Options range from vegetarian dishes to sushi to ethnic foods from around the world. Google's culture promotes the use of fresh, organic foods and healthy meals. But when everything is free and you can eat whenever you want, it's easy to go overboard. That's where the Google 15 comes in. It refers to the 15 pounds many new Google employees put on once they start taking advantage of all the meals and snacks.

Other cafés at the Googleplex include the Pacific Café, Charleston Café, Café 150 and the appropriately named No Name Café. Each offers employees several choices for every meal. Google serves up more than 200 recipes in these cafés every day [source: Wu].

Too tired to walk to the cafeteria? Hop on one of the electric scooters parked around campus.
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What if you feel your stomach growling in the middle of the afternoon, but don't want to trek out to a cafeteria? Google thought of that, too. It's just a short walk to the nearest snack room -- most buildings have them. The snack rooms have candy, granola, chocolate-coated pretzels, juices, coffees and other goodies. All of it is free to employees. Google even brings some of these bins on the road -- at the 2008 Google I/O event at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif., Google provided bins filled with snacks to attendees.

Google doesn't discuss how much it spends on its food budget, but that doesn't stop people from taking a stab at it. Blogger Vasanth Sridharan made one such attempt in April, 2008. He made some educated guesses regarding the number of employees at the Googleplex, the number of meals they eat per day and the amount of money Google would have to spend per employee per day. He came up with a food budget of more than $72 million per year. But then, that's just a guess [source: Sridharan].

Google provides employees with unusual workspaces and tons of food. But in the words of countless television commercials, "that's not all!" Want to learn more about the way you can pamper yourself if you're a Google employee? Take a gander at the next section.

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