There’s No Free Lunch In Digital Signage … Except At Context Media

June 5, 2013 by Dave Haynes

contextmedia-logo-hrWhile it’s pretty reasonable to attach the “no free lunch” adage to digital signage – as in anything free comes with some kind of cost – that’s probably not the case with Chicago-based Context Media, which is buying both lunch AND breakfast for its staff each day.

The Chicago Tribune has a piece up about food businesses targeting the tech sector, and notes how the dining perks of Silicon Valley are starting to make their way east., which started in Silicon Valley, is in Chicago now and among its clients are Context Media, where 46 staff manage Digital OOH networks focused on specific medical conditions like diabetes.

Says the report:

Brok Vandersteen, a ContextMedia sales executive, used to buy a bagel in the morning and a sandwich for lunch. He and a co-worker also tried buying groceries at a nearby Mariano’s Fresh Market on Mondays and making their lunches, but he quickly grew tired of his own creations.

With the company-provided meals, he now eats granola, yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Lunch is a wide rotation of cuisines and vendors — Thai food one day, gyros and Greek salads another, even “some really delicious pot pies with green beans and potatoes.”
“They’re doing a good job of finding meals that aren’t really heavy and greasy, and including fruits and vegetables, which I don’t think people do very often,” said Vandersteen, 24.

Rishi Shah, founder and chief executive of Context-Media, said he observed a productivity increase after introducing the food program. He also believes the communal meals foster collaboration.

“You’ve got pretty large departments or teams that don’t always see each other every day,” he said. “Now you’ve got network engineers talking to account managers talking to logistics people. There’s an informal socialization.”

Rishi is one of the smarter young guys active in this sector, and I like the notion. There’s a big cost to doing this, but the benefits are there in terms of collaboration and also, probably, in things like reduced sick days and benefits claims. We’ve also seen what people shovel in their mouths at lunchtime and think those people are fast-tracking their way to serious medical issues.

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