Office Breakfast Ideas

Even though breakfast is the most important meal of the day, too many people have nothing more than a coffee or a doughnut in the morning. Show your employees how much you appreciate them by offering them breakfast at the office. Sitting down for a meal together gives everyone a chance to relax and socialize before starting the workday.

Such bonding experiences improve employee morale, which makes your staff more engaged and productive. It also doesn’t hurt that eating a decent breakfast will improve your employees’ concentration for the rest of the day. Whether you’re hosting an office breakfast for the first time or just want to try something different, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you. Take a look at the following meal options and general tips.

Breakfast at the Office

Whether you’re celebrating a holiday or just want to thank your staff for working so hard, you can make the event as extravagant or as casual as you like. The menu items you choose will depend on the company’s budget, the general atmosphere of the office, and what sort of statement you want to make.

For the following office breakfast ideas, include one or more of the usual beverages: coffee, tea, orange juice, and other fruit juices such as cranberry or grapefruit juice.

The Breakfast Buffet

If you want to go all out for your employees, give them a catered office breakfast. Whatever catering company you go with should provide plates, cutlery, napkins, and anything else you need. The types of packages vary from company to company, but generally speaking, you can expect various hot food and cold food options.

Hot food options may include:

  • Skillet-cooked scrambled eggs, served plain or with toppings such as ham, green peppers, mushrooms, or bacon.
  • Grilled or fried meat such as sausages, bacon, ham, steak and eggs, or sausage gravy with biscuits.
  • Potato-based items such as classic hash browns or home fries.
  • Waffle breakfast stations with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and different flavors of syrup.
  • Omelet stations that let employees add various cheese, meat, or vegetable ingredients.

Cold food options may include:

  • Muffins, croissants, and scones served with preserves and butter.
  • Fresh fruit salad or a fruit platter.
  • Individual yogurts or yogurt parfaits.
  • Cereal with milk or soy milk.

Many catering companies also let you create personalized plated meals. This choice works best if you want breakfast to feel more formal and traditional. However, a buffet is probably more convenient if your employees have different dietary needs.

The Healthy Breakfast

Whether serving healthy food for breakfast is part of the company wellness program or part of your personal philosophy, you can definitely pull it off without making your employees suffer. After all, the last thing you want is to give them a meal that tastes more like a punishment than a reward! Options will differ depending on your region, but popular foods include:

  • A self-serve hot oatmeal station with soy milk and skim milk; dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, or cherries; toasted nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds; and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
  • Whole grains breads with all-natural peanut butter, almond butter, or fresh avocado.
  • No-sugar-added cereals with skim milk or plant-based milks.
  • Low-fat proteins such as turkey slices for meat-lovers and baked beans for vegetarians and vegans.
  • A make-your-own-parfait station with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and berries, and granola.

Avoiding foods high in saturated fat or processed sugar is certainly a good idea, but remember that the healthiest foods aren’t necessarily fat-free or sugar-free. Look at the nutritional value and not just the calorie count. Choose whole-grain breads over white, processed breads; the additional fiber helps lower cholesterol levels. Select fruits of multiple colors; the different colors indicate the presence of different types of vitamins and antioxidants. For example, orange fruits like mango contain beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A.

The Office-Meeting Breakfast

If you’re not able to host a breakfast that’s purely social, do the next best thing and serve breakfast during an office meeting. Whatever food you serve should be relatively simple so it doesn’t distract employees or become too much of a mess to clean up afterward. Try these popular office breakfast ideas:

  • Breakfast sandwiches such as classic ham and cheese or vegetarian-friendly avocado and tomato.
  • Bagels with assorted cream cheeses, jams and jellies, and peanut butter.
  • Baked goods like muffins, scones, or coffee cake.
  • Fruit kebabs or a fruit platter.

Instead of serving the usual pot of coffee, consider taking everyone’s order and having their favorite latte, espresso, tea, or other hot beverage delivered in a coffee run.

The Breakfast Potluck

Do you have the type of employees who like to get really involved in events? Do you think a breakfast potluck suits your company size better than a catered event would? If you answered yes to either of these questions, your options are only limited by your imagination (and by your employees’ cooking skills). Just a few of the many ideas for breakfast potluck dishes include:

  • Breakfast pizza, which typically has eggs, bacon, and cheese.
  • Homemade granola bars.
  • Breakfast strata made with any combination of vegetables or meats.
  • Pancakes or waffles. Use gluten-free bread to make gluten-free French toast.
  • Mini breakfast burritos. Stuff them with beans, rice, salsa, and avocado to make them vegan-friendly.
  • Monkey bread. Also known as sticky bread, this pastry tastes more like dessert than breakfast, but does that really matter? It’s delicious!

If your company doesn’t already have a breakfast club, find out if your employees want one. People who enjoy preparing food for potlucks will most likely appreciate having a breakfast club. If your office has a kitchen, that makes food preparation even easier.

General Tips for Breakfast at the Office

Once you’ve chosen a menu for the office breakfast, the most time-consuming part of the planning is over. However, your work isn’t finished just yet. Keep these general tips in mind before you place the order for the food (if you’re hiring a catering company), setting the date and time, and announcing the company breakfast to your office.

Set Aside Enough Time

This advice may seem obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning that you should set aside a good chunk of time for breakfast at the office. After all, the entire point is to give your employees a short break. One hour usually gives everyone enough time to socialize and eat without rushing. Scheduling an actual time also shows your employees that you put in extra effort on their behalf, which helps them feel valued.

Account for Dietary Needs

Overlooking employees’ special diets happens all too easily, and taking everyone’s needs into account is especially challenging if you have a large company. Before you decide what food to order for the office breakfast, find out if anyone follows a special diet, even if you think you already know the answer. Anyone’s health status, religion, or personal beliefs may change at any time, so they may not eat the same foods as you remember.

You may need to provide foods that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, or halal. Also check if anyone has any food allergies. The most common allergies involve fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, wheat, and soy. If an employee has a rare or unusual allergy, such as an allergy to black pepper, corn, or bananas, you’ll need to make special arrangements for that person’s meal.

Account for Different Schedules

While most offices have a 9-to-5 schedule, others have employees working in shifts. If the latter is the case for your company, make sure that everyone gets breakfast. You can order the food in batches and have each batch delivered for each shift so that nobody has to eat another shift’s leftovers. In the case of a breakfast potluck, find out if the employees on the afternoon or night shifts want to take part. If so, they can each host their own potluck.

Breakfast is such a versatile meal that you can easily plan a menu that works for any situation, from elaborate catered events to office-meeting breakfasts to wellness-inspired meals. You can make the food yourself, order from a catering company, or encourage your employees to throw a potluck. The most important rule is to include everyone. The next time you schedule a breakfast at the office, try at least one of these menu suggestions. You just might discover a new favorite recipe.

Nashville has always thought big. People have moved here with dreams of conquering the city, or even the world. Adam Neumann, cofounder and CEO of WeWork — which has two locations in Music City — has described the company as a place that fosters that kind of growth.

So it makes sense that the two meshed so well at WeWork’s Nashville Creator Awards, held on September 13. Host Ashton Kutcher ticked off the long list of larger cities where the Creator Awards, a global competition that rewards entrepreneurs, have already taken place. “London! São Paulo! Nashville, you are on that list!”

Adam Neumann and Ashton Kutcher at WeWork’s Nashville Creator Awards.

Neumann twice interrupted the event to increase the amounts of the prizes, underscoring that “think big” theme for the night. He boosted dollar amounts for runners-up in the nonprofit category and gave performance arts winner Melanie Faye a recording studio, in addition to her $18,000 cash prize. All told, WeWork awarded $888,000 in prize money in Music City.

If you were expecting a prim-and-proper pitch competition, well, this wasn’t your father’s shark tank. The crowd of more than 2,500 people at Marathon Music Works was standing room only, and there were lines outside of more folks who wanted to get in. (Food trucks kept serving outside all night.) Faye rocked out on her signature blue Fender guitar as attendees made their way to their seats. “A lot of times on stage I am inhibited, but the audience was giving me a lot of energy that I could feed off,” she said. “So it made me play at my potential. It made me a lot more confident.”

Sarah Martin McConnell wowed the judges — and the crowd — with her elevator pitch for Music for Seniors, a nonprofit that takes live music to the elderly.

Kutcher described Nashville has having seemingly contradictory, yet laudatory, qualities: humility and confidence. Also one of the judges, Kutcher said the one quality he looked for most in a creator is “grit.”

Music City’s quirkiness came through loud and clear in all the best moments of the evening:

Best way to fight the stereotype: Nashville likes to emphasize that it’s not just about country music. Sure, the mega duo of Florida Georgia Line were celebrity judges, but what better way to show Music City’s range than to have G-Eazy (wearing a “Cashville” T-shirt) in the house? The rapper played to a happy after-party crowd that danced through beer and confetti.

Janett Liriano of Loomia pitches her company to the judges.

Best eats: Food trucks lined up outside —  including That Awesome Taco Truck, King Tut’s, and Bradley’s Creamery — fed attendees in a makeshift park with picnic tables and a view of the city skyline in the distance.

Best thirst quencher: On a day that topped 92 degrees and humidity levels as noticeable in the air as the confetti streamers that later rained down, “refreshing” was the beverage watchword of the night. Palomas, served both as limed-accented drinks from the open bars in the vendor market and job fair and as shots once the winners were announced, helped the parched and got folks in a party mood, while keeping it light. For non-drinkers, WithCo’s drink call the Jackass, made with fresh lime and ginger, was a particularly popular pre-show energy kick.

Melanie Faye rocked out on her signature blue Fender guitar at the Nashville Creator Awards.

Easiest way to influence your future: Inside, Neumann, Kutcher, and the finalists demonstrated what happens when one has ambition and curiosity. Business card-maker Moo helped people put that initiative in their own hands –– literally. Market-goers wrote a postcard to their future selves that Moo will mail 12 months from now.

Best wearable art: WeWorker and East Nashville florist FLWR Shop used liquid latex to paint fresh-flower corsages on the wrists of willing attendees.

Local vendors showed off their wares at the Nashville Creator Awards.

Best salute to veterans: The world-changing went on not just on the stage but in the pop-up market and job fair, which hosted many businesses and nonprofits specifically focused on helping refugees and veterans, including Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit for veteran entrepreneurs.

Most quintessential Nashville item for sale: Music City’s Original Fuzz was selling its line of guitar straps made from vintage and one-of-a-kind fabrics. Camera and bags straps were available for those who can’t pick a note.

Dozens of jobs were on offer at the Nashville Creator Awards job fair.

Biggest scene-stealer: Before the pitches began Kutcher and Neumann asked for two volunteers from the packed audience to pitch their idea. Sarah Martin McConnell’s hand shot up, and in 30 seconds she wowed the duo — and the crowd — with her elevator pitch for Music for Seniors, a nonprofit that takes live music to the elderly. She was awarded $50,000 to triple the organization’s size by the end of next year. “This is a turning place for us,” she said.

Product that best knows its niche audience: Nashville is home to the largest Kurdish population in the U.S. The majority of Kurds are Muslim, and Muslim women who participate in wudu, a washing ritual where water must reach every part of the body, cannot wear waterproof makeup or nail polish. Enter Júwon Enamel, a vegan nail polish with a water-permeable polish, to solve that problem. (Júwon means “beautiful” in Kurdish.)

Biggest winner: Stephanie Benedetto, founder and CEO of Queen of Raw, the night’s biggest winner with a $360,000 prize for her online marketplace for excess raw textiles, demonstrated a lot of grit. “The kinds of questions they asked were so valuable, informative, and supportive,” she said, but they also forced her to think about the direction she’ll take the company going forward.

Best sign you were on the right track: Anthony Brahimsha, who walked away with a second-place $180,000 prize for Prommus, his high-protein, clean-label hummus, says that “as soon as you win this award, all the blood, sweat and tears that you put into the company comes together. I’m talking, literally, blood, sweat, and tears… Finally, it feels like an affirmation that you were doing the right thing.”

When luxury clothing retailer Burberry burned millions of dollars worth of items that it couldn’t sell, it caused an uproar. Destroying excess fabric is rampant in the industry, but Stephanie Benedetto may have come up with a solution.

Her business, Queen of Raw, offers an online marketplace for buying and selling fabrics that might otherwise go to waste.

Queen of Raw cofounder Stephanie Benedetto wants to use the prize money from the Nashville Creator Awards to take her company international.

The New Yorker says there’s $120 billion worth of excess fabric sitting in warehouses around the world. That costs the factories that made it, the companies that ordered it, and the warehouses that store it. And Benedetto says it also costs the planet.

The textile industry is the second-biggest polluter of clean water in the world, right after oil. That cotton T-shirt you’re wearing as you read this? Benedetto says it took a mind-boggling 700 gallons of water to produce (unless you happen to be wearing an organic shirt, in which case it’s more like 10 gallons). Multiply that by the 2 billion shirts sold annually across the globe, and you can see the impact this has on the environment.

With Queen of Raw, Bennedetto says that businesses can sell their excess raw fabric (hence the name) instead of destroying it. And if the company that buys it ends up not needing it? Well, it can sell it to another firm.

Buyers become sellers and sellers become buyers,” she says.

Bennedetto says she’s continuing a family tradition. A century ago, her immigrant grandfather worked in the garment industry on New York’s Lower East Side. Today, she runs her technology-driven company from New York’s WeWork Empire State.

A former lawyer who specialized in fashion, technology, and other fields, Benedetto started mapping out Queen of Raw on a napkin four years ago. She officially launched this year with cofounder Phil Derasmo, whose Wall Street and startup contacts were a good balance for her fashion industry chops.

Benedetto estimates that by 2025 Queen of Raw could help save more than 4 billion gallons of water and prevent 2 million tons of textiles from going to the landfill. While Queen of Raw strives to have serious social impact, it was important to Benedetto for it to be a for-profit business to show the industry that preventing waste will help their bottom line.

Benedetto knows how hard it is to run a successful startup. But things suddenly got a lot easier on Sept. 13 when she took home the top prize — $360,000 — at the Nashville Creator Awards.

“We were a bootstrapped company and it took us all the way to launch,” says Benedetto. “We want to be able to grow and scale beyond the U.S. and around the world.”

Her ultimate goal is to get people — business owners and consumers alike — to stop and think.

“Wherever you are, whatever you are going, the materials in the space you are in —the office, a car, a plane — did not come from nowhere,” says Benedetto. “If everyone thought a little differently about one T-shirt, about sourcing sustainably one thing, that would have a massive impact.”

Architect Luiz Alberto Altmann Fazio was volunteering with a well-known nonprofit when he visited a favela in Rio de Janeiro. There he saw for the first time the problems with sewage encountered by many poor communities in Brazil.

“Companies won’t build sewage networks in poor communities because they don’t see it as economically viable,” he says.

About 50 percent of Brazilian households are not connected to a sewage network, a statistic that disproportionally affects the poor. So Fazio created Biosaneamento, a project to build low-cost biogas toilets in communities that lack basic sanitation.

A biogas toilet is similar to an eco-friendly composting toilet in that it converts waste to fertilizer. But a biogas system takes things a step farther by also collecting methane gas that can be used by the local community. This gas can be a lifeline for poor families, who have seen the price of canisters of gas rise in recent months in Brazil.

Despite Brazil passing a law guaranteeing all citizens access to a sewage system 10 years ago, Fazio says that in a best-case scenario, the country is still at least 25 years away from fulfilling its promise. The total cost would be more than $100 billion.

But Biosaneamento offers a cheap and quicker solution to the problem. The construction of bio-toilets uses readily available materials and can create jobs in the community.

Biosaneamento, with offices at Rio de Janeiro’s WeWork Carica, is a winner in the nonprofit category at the WeWork Creator Awards. With the $18,000 prize the company will be able to build up to 50 systems — enough to serve 150 homes and 600 people.

Fazio says that says that their system would cost around a tenth of a sewer traditional system. One of the big benefits would be improving the health of local communities.

“In poor communities with open sewer networks you have high rates of diarrhea and other diseases,” says Fazio. “For young children this can be deadly.”

When São Paulo business leader Alcione Albanesi decided to start a nonprofit organization back in 1993, little did she know that 25 years later it would be one of the best-known programs in Brazil.

“At the time, we couldn’t have imagined where it would take us,” says Albanesi, who started off her career as head of a successful lamp company.

Today, Amigos do Bem — which translates as “Good Friends” — has 8,600 volunteers working to help 60,000 Brazilians in Sertão, one of the country’s poorest areas. The semi-arid region sits in the northeastern part of the country.

Through volunteering, fundraising, and other efforts, Amigos de Bem serves 118 villages in the remote parts of the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco, and Ceará. Last year, Amigos do Bem received an award from Brazil’s Epoca magazine, which honours the 100 best non-governmental organizations in the country.

Sertão is a visually beautiful and enchanting place that has inspired some of Brazil’s best literature and cinema, but it’s also a region that throughout Brazil’s history has suffered from natural disasters, poverty, and neglect.

While there have been some serious improvements in recent years, including much-needed grants provided by the government, problems remain. Jobs are hard to come by, and many residents rely to varying degrees on subsistence agriculture to help them get by.

To make matters worse, two years ago the area suffered its worst drought in history. In 2014, Brazil was removed from the United Nations World Hunger map, but in Sertão, there are many areas where hunger persists.  

“It’s a difficult fight,” says Albanesi, a resident of São Paulo. “It’s really complex. Without a humane intervention, it’s a pattern that repeats itself.”

In partnership with leading supermarket chains in Brazil, Amigos do Bem donates 11,000 food baskets each month to poor families in the Sertão region. But while the nonprofit started off with donations of food and clothing, it has expanded to offer housing and medical and dental care.

Today, the organization is focused on self-sustaining projects such as university scholarships that will benefit nearly 200 students. Most of them will be the first in their families to go on to higher education.

“Today, kids and teenagers in the region can dream,” says Albanesi.