Grinnell Mutual employees make lunch count

At 11:30 each weekday, employees begin to filter down the halls to Grinnell Mutual’s cafeteria. Food Services Assistant Mary Ranfeld is one of a team ready to serve them.

“There’s quite a few that get the same thing, and I can just ring them up,” said Mary.

Yes, our employees know the food services team by their first names — Alex, Annie, Bev, Denise, Kathy, Mary, Natalie, Samantha, Theresa. And the team knows employees’ eating habits as well as they know their own.

“Our team is very good about knowing your name and exactly what you’re having,” said Denise Thomazin, food services supervisor. “I might not be able to remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I can remember what you like to eat!”

“You get a lot of the one-on-one contact,” said Mary. “They’ll tell you about something that just happened — a new baby, for instance. You get to know them and their families and what’s going on in their world.”

Served your way

We make lunch count for our employees. A majority of Americans eat lunch alone — 55 percent, according to a recent report by NPD Group. And only 18 percent of employers have cafeterias, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Since opening our new cafeteria in 2015, food services staff have noticed more people eating — and staying. The 300-seat, 8,000-square-foot cafeteria is owned, operated, and staffed by Grinnell Mutual and features natural light and patio. Employees can choose from a made-to-order deli bar, grill, self-service salad bar, and hot and cold entrees, as well as a variety of prepackaged items.

The food services team listens to, shares, and acts on the feedback it receives from employees. Recent improvements include a digital menu board and offering half-portions of entrees.

“I tell employees, ‘This is your cafeteria,’” said Theresa Linn, food services assistant. “If there is something I can possibly do that you need or want, let me know. If it’s in our realm of doing, we’ll do it for you.”

Making lunch count

Grinnell Mutual stands out as part of the 14 percent of workplaces that provide subsidized meals onsite, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Longtime employees have grown accustomed to the onsite cafeteria and convenience of not having to go out to lunch on a rainy day, but the cafeteria’s variety, convenience, and price makes an impression on visitors and new employees.

“You can’t go uptown and get anything for the price or convenience that we offer,” said Mary. “New employees say ‘It’s so nice, never having to go out to eat!’

Visit our Careers page to learn more about how you can work where you eat and eat where you work.