With a workforce of more than 6,000 employees in 48 offices around the globe, providing daily meals for Facebook employees is no small feat.
Executive chef Dean Spinks oversees the menus at Facebook’s company cafes. According to a recent profile by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, that includes the company’s 57-acre headquarters in Menlo Park, where a team of more than 200 employees prepares meals at 11 campus dining options.
According to Rick Angelini, general manager of Sunnyvale-based Cosmopolitan Catering, the catering industry determines a full meal to be about one pound of food, which includes an entree and three small side dishes. Facebook offers its 6,000 employees three full meals a day, five days a week, which means that according to industry standards, the kitchen staff could be serving 18,000 pounds of food on any given day.
“We usually write menus about four weeks in advance,” Spinks said to the Silicon Valley Business Journal. “If you’re getting 500 pounds of one cut of beef, you’ve kind of got to give the purveyors a little bit of leeway.”
The free food at the company’s headquarters is said to be so plentiful and of such high quality that some employees report gaining “the Facebook 15.”
Spinks says that the dining scene is an important part of Facebook’s office culture.
“I think it kind of fosters the idea of people gathering together for lunch — different departments getting together,” Spinks said. “It’s rumoured that several of our products were started that way.”
But feeding Menlo Park Facebookers is only one part of Spinks’ responsibilities — he also designs custom kitchens and helps set up relationships with vendors in cities like Dublin, Berlin, and Tel Aviv. Facebook has 34 offices outside of the U.S.
Spinks draws from food field trips and workers’ family recipes to come up with menus that will satisfy the taste buds of Facebook’s international workforce, but it can be a complicated process.
“Moving globally is a challenge, going from having one kind of small restaurant to overseeing restaurants all around the world. Or trying to set up vendors in Brazil,” Spinks told the SVBJ. “I don’t speak Portuguese.”
When Spinks came to Facebook with culinary school friend Josef Desimone in 2008, the social network was still a small, young company. The pair had previously helped Google to grow their in-house food operations.
Desimone died in a motorcycle accident last summer, leaving Spinks with the top job.