20,000 Meals a Day At Google – A Frank Experience

November 16, 2019 0 By William Morgan

♪♪ -Enjoy. Enjoy. ♪♪ Serving some amazing local bass
here at Google. This is a Frank experience. ♪♪ Tech companies are known
for treating their employees amazing, especially when
it comes to food. Here at Google, it’s pretty
much the gold standard. The New York City Google campus
has more than 8,000 employees, and they serve breakfast,
lunch, and dinner free of charge every day. Chef Julian.
-Hi, Chef. How are you? -Good to see you.
-Good to see you. -Thank you so much
for having us. You hear tales about companies
like Google and the food operation. -We operate about 10 cafes
here in New York. We feed about
9,000 employees a day. -This is where
the magic happens, right? -At Highland, we feed
about 1,500 people a day. We also have
a grab-and-go program so that people can, you know,
if they’re in a hurry, they can come and get something
really quickly to eat. -How many cooks work under you? -There’s about 450 that are on the Google food team
in New York City. -And how many meals would you say you guys
are producing a week? -We do breakfast,
lunch, and dinner. On a daily basis, we’re doing
about 20,000 to 25,000 meals. -20,000 meals a day —
That’s insane. What are you
ordering the most of? -It’s a mix, right? So, obviously, we do focus,
you know, on the vegetables, purchasing all different types
of seasonal vegetables. In just one particular cafe
on a daily basis, I’m purchasing
800 pounds of chicken just for that particular cafe. -So, Chef, are we going to do
some cooking today? -Yes, we are.
We’re actually going to go to one of our action stations and cook something
super delicious, something that is very seasonal. We’re doing
butter squash noodles with a lobster mushroom
bolognese. -So, is there actually
lobster-lobster, or is it only lobster mushrooms
that are in it? -No, lobster mushrooms. They call them lobster mushrooms
because of the color. But it’s one
of my favorite mushrooms because they’re meaty.
-Yeah. -I’m not going to tell you
that it tastes like lobster, but, you know, it has
that nice, sort of — -It’s a play on the words, too,
a little bit, yeah. -So, now, you know,
let’s start making the sauce. So, we’re going to go over here
to the stove, and we’re going to grab
a little bit of olive oil. We’re going to sauté some onion, some garlic and some
of these lobster mushrooms. -This is the base
of every great sauce. -Exactly, that’s it, right — onions and garlic
and a little bit of olive oil. -Uh huh.
And in with the mushrooms? -Yes.
-Right in with all of them? -Just go in,
right in all of them. -I can’t wait to smell this. So, what do we got here, Chef? -So, here, we have
our butternut squash noodles. Look how beautiful that is. -How do you get the butternut
squash to that? -We actually have
a special machine. Actually, we just put
the butternut squash and the blade will go “vroom,” and you get a beautiful noodle
like that, yeah. So, we’re going to add
our butternut squash noodles into our hot bath. -Food is obviously
a very powerful thing. I mean, we know that working
in the industry. What does it mean
to kind of serve, like, a “family meal”
to the employees? Does it help
with the culture here? -If you really think about it,
it started off 20 years ago. The Google team decided that how do you come up
with innovations? How do you come up with ideas? And, you know, they started this
really strong lunch program where they would, you know,
get 50, 60 employees to come into the dining room
and eat at the same time just like we do in restaurants
as family meals, and that’s how ideas started
coming together. 20 years later,
here we are feeding 8,000 people every single day,
and this is just in New York, not including all
the other cities that we have. Food is a really huge part
of our culture. -We’re going to add a couple
of ladles of this Mornay. We’re going to hit it
with a little bit of the sauce that’s kind of been sitting
and marinating and I’m sure
has really nice flavor. Then we’re going to go right in with the butternut
squash noodles. Is the ratio
looking good to you? It looks good to me.
-I think it looks great, yeah. I think it looks fantastic. I mean when you, you know, like,
you do it like — -Do the linguine technique. You take it and spin. And I’m going to try
not to break these. I’m going to try to make
Chef proud of me here. Chef, am I doing a disaster
right now? -You’re doing a great job.
Look at that. That looks so delicious. He’s doing great. Look at that,
even the twirl is perfect. That’s a true New Yorker,
by the way. -[ Chuckles ] We have it plated up,
and now to make it look really nice
we’re going to finish it off with the Reggiano
and the micros. -I tend to like a little bit
more cheese, but, obviously, you know,
that’s a personal thing. And then a little bit
of micro basil. -So, voilà.
We have a beautiful restaurant-worthy dish,
without a doubt. Where else can you go to work and have an amazing
vegetable-pasta dish like this? -How is that, Chef? -It’s really good. Feels like you’re eating
something nutritious. You’re eating it, and you’re
tasting the vegetables. Just the texture of those
noodles and the flavor of them, it’s really nice. So, we’re in the Panorama Cafe
here at Google’s campus. I’m with Dave.
Dave is a Google employee. How long have you been here?
-Almost 13 years. -13? -I’m still, like, a little
uncomfortable saying it, yeah. -Wow! That’s insane.
-I started in 2006. And what is it like being
a Google employee and having access
to all this food? -The food has always been, like, a really great part
about working here. A lot of days, I have
7 minutes for lunch. I think my worst lunch day
ever was, like, 3 minutes. And getting a real,
healthy meal, like, in the middle of that
has been kind of nice. -What’s for lunch today,
and where do you usually eat? -My team kind of
makes fun of me, because I always eat
at Season Cafe every day. Oh, we have no line today.
This is great. -Excellent. -When I started at Google,
I gained some weight. -Did you?
-It’s all gone now. In New York I actually, like —
-You walk if off. -You walk it off, and we were
on the 14th floor, so there’s a lot of stairs
to go up. -So, is that a thing, like,
when you first start at Google, is it like a freshman 15, you know, that everyone gains
a little weight because there’s
a lot of food around? -If you, like, go to a store or something, you’re like,
“Oh, there’s food everywhere, and I’m going to pay
for some of it.” But here, you just kind of,
like, walk down the hallway, and it’s there.
I’ve done pretty good. -I haven’t, you know,
got back to — -You look great.
You look great, Dave. -Thank you. [ Laughs ]
-Is there any negatives to that? -For me, no. There’s always food
all the time. And I feel like if I wanted to, I could just
eat cookies all day. And the reality is that’s
actually, like, why I like the plated meals — good, and tasty
and different all the time. How is the souvlaki? I’ve been talking too much,
haven’t been eating. -I was just about to say,
it’s delicious. I mean, I couldn’t stare at it
anymore while we were talking. I’m like,
“I’ve got to take a bite.” -I have this problem
when I’m at work, I could work or eat. I have a lot of trouble
doing both at once. ♪♪ -So, one of the pride
and joys of this cafe is the sushi station. It sounds to me like it’s one of
the most popular stations here. -It’s definitely
a popular one, yes. Excuse me, Frank, I want to
introduce you to our chef, Mike. -Chef Mike, thank you so much
for having us here. I appreciate that.
-Sure, yeah. -This is a ridiculous amount
of sushi, by the way. -Yeah, and this is just for,
you know, we’re just starting off
with, you know, early lunch. Every single day, we have
two options that change daily. Today, we’re doing
a mango-avocado roll, and then we’re doing a mackerel. We have a team
of six sushi chefs that just, you know, work nonstop. -One thing that immediately
struck me is just, Chef Mike is moving
at an insanely fast pace. He’s rolling rolls. Once the sushi roll
is rolled up, he gets the chef knife
in his hand and just kind of cuts through
them really quick, remolds them, and then next thing you know
you have a tray like this, hundreds and hundreds
of pieces of sushi. I’m going to jump in there next,
but after watching Chef Mike, I’m getting
a little intimidated. -There you go.
He makes it look easy, right? -He does make it look easy, and I’ve been caught in this
situation before, all right? I’m going to first start
with the — -Get your nori paper.
-Put the nori paper down, and then we’re going to
start to kind of push the rice down, right?
-Before you push down, you’re going to want
to go across first. -Got you. So, we’re going
to kind of — -Press so you can evenly
spread the rice. -This is some really high-
quality sushi rice. I can feel it.
-You’re a natural. I don’t know how you do pizza,
but you do sushi very well. Look at that.
-You know. How am I looking over here,
Chef Mike? -Beautiful.
-Beautiful? All right, great.
-Better than my first time. -Oh, man.
-Avocado is next? -No, now we’re going to add
a little bit of the plum paste. -A little bit of plum paste, and this kind of gets
evenly spread, as well? -Yeah, just right
in the middle. -Try to get it all to the edge,
so like you said, the ratio is kind of — Now to the avocado?
-Now the avocado. -And now to the mango?
-Now the mango. Doing the king size
roll here, right? -Yeah, going extra big,
Italian-style. -I think you’re ready to roll. -I promise — I have no practice
rolling sushi. When I was watching Chef Mike,
he kind of just molded it down and kind of stuffed in the sides
and put a little pressure on it to make sure
that it was molded well. Then he kind of stuffed
it in on each side here. -That looks great. Normally, you would want to
cut it right in the middle and then put it together so you can get two slices
at one time. ♪♪ -Ahh!
[ Chuckles ] I lost a little at the end,
Chef, huh? I’m trying my best. You know, these pieces,
maybe they don’t look so pretty. Would you put these to the side,
or would you try to just fix them up
and include them in? -Maybe you can use makisu
and fold it again like this? -Oh. Oh, perfect. Get that look
that we’re looking for. That will help mold it
and make it look presentable. -There you go.
Look at that. -All right.
-Get it this way, right, because we want to see
all the beauty in the sushi. And then you present
it like that. -I’ve got a fallen soldier,
but I think — -On top?
-Beautiful. -Just for garnish.
-Garnish right on top. -That’s — Look at that.
-Wow. -I think for the time
you’ve done a sushi roll, just like Sushi Mike said, it’s probably better than
the first time I did it. -You guys are being nice
to me now, I know that, but I appreciate
the compliments. You know, it looks
pretty good to me. I’d give myself maybe, like,
a 5 or 6 out of 10, but I think with
a little bit of practice I can definitely lift
that score. This is the one that I made. Some of these pieces are, like,
a little bit thicker. This is the one
that Chef Mike made. It’s pretty much perfect. The ratio looks great. Let’s see if I could
tell the difference. It’s all the same ingredients,
and it’s just like pizza. Ratio is so important. So, the ratio that Chef Mike
uses in this and the way that he crafts his sushi
is definitely a little bit different
than the way that I did it. Mike, I just wanted to say
thank you one more time. I really appreciate you
showing me the ropes. -Thank you for coming.
-Thanks, brother. ♪♪ I’ll do a little quinoa with
some of the Arctic char, please. I mean, you can really eat
really well here, huh? -Oh, yeah,
you can eat really well. Globally, there are 280 cafes
in our system. That’s 1,300 micro-kitchens. Those are like
our coffee pantries. -Right.
-We are serving, like, 278,000 meals a day. That’s a big responsibility. -And are you guys using
the same techniques that you use to build the company, Google —
for instance, the data? -One of our main focuses is
around sustainability. How does that data help us
program better and be more mindful
and intentional with our menus? And then weighing our waste, so that’s we’re also using
technology to get data, where we can see
what we mostly have. Is there is a lot
of cauliflower stems? Does that turn
into cauliflower rice? -Right, and things like
the design and the setup — one thing I noticed was that
as soon as you walk in, the greens are right there.
-Yep. -Like, the first thing you pass
are the salads. Is that design on purpose? -Absolutely.
-Yeah. -How do we encourage
a plant-forward diet? We did a lot of work with
the Yale School of Management a couple of years ago
around choice architecture and behavioral sciences
to nudge folks towards better choices
for themselves. And, so, that’s why we’re put
the greens front and center, the salads front and center. -I haven’t really seen
any Coca-Cola cans around. I haven’t really seen
bowls of M&Ms like I’ve seen
at other companies. -Sure. They’re around,
and they’re there. We believe in choice.
We do use behavioral sciences, and we place them
in the refrigerators so that, hopefully, your line
of sight is on where — those other choices. -As a restaurant owner, I know
what it takes to kind of, like, you know, run a kitchen,
pay employees, you know, order food like this. Just the sheer amount of money that must be spent alone
on the food program — -It’s an investment. We call it food care,
caring for those whom you feed and caring
for those who feed you. -So, just finishing up the day here at the Google
New York City campus. Sitting on the terrace,
overlooking the sky line, and I really got a taste today
for what it’s like for a company like Google
that’s super invested in feeding over 8,000 employees a day over 20,000 meals a day
in this campus alone. The amount of food that they’re
pumping out, it was eye-opening. It makes you think how would
the rest of the world operate if they had, you know,
these resources at their hands? But at the same time,
it takes very deep pockets to be able to do that, and I don’t know
how realistic that is. I just hope that this is
setting the standard for other companies to go out
and do the same. ♪♪ ♪♪