Make Your Chicago Break Room New Again

Break Room Choices in Chicago

In Gulfport, Mississippi, high school students in the National Technical Honor Society built a vending machine that, from a distance, appears to be a normal vending machine. After taking a closer look, however, it is clear that this vending machine is unique and special. It is an older vending machine that has been turned into a solar-powered vending machine that dispenses free personal hygiene products to the homeless in the community.

While researching project ideas for a device that blended STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) research with a community need, the students realized that there was a gap between when shelters and soup kitchens were open, and when homeless individuals needed help. To fill that need, they took an item that had a specific purpose, was no longer being used, and melded it into something new to meet a current need. Their approach is not new and can be adopted by anyone including Chicago organizations that need to change up their office break room to provide important benefits for their employees.

The older office break room or office kitchen, as it was known, is usually an unloved space located in an out-of-the-way location. Often it included poor lighting, a basic table and chairs, minimal amenities, and a traditional vending machine. Employees, especially Millennials, are looking for something different and have changed the way office break rooms are viewed. They are now seen as an important space that should inspire creativity and productivity, provide a spot to relax and interact with coworkers, and enjoy a meal or snack.

To encourage your Chicago employees to stay on site to enjoy that meal or snack, consider offering pantry service, specialty coffee service, or a micro-market as a benefit in your office break room. Below are a few important points to know about each option.

Break Room Choices in Chicago

Pantry Service

  • Employees pay part of none of the cost for beverages, snacks, or meals while they are at work
  • Pantry service’s perceived value by employees is higher than the actual cost to the employer
  • Employees are less likely to leave the office for a meal or break, which can increase overall productivity

Specialty Coffee Service

  • Many specialty coffee services use sourced coffee beans and locally roasted coffees creating a unique coffee experience
  • In addition to specialty hot coffees, many venders now offer cold brew coffees as well
  • Encourages employees to enjoy a well-made cup of joe without leaving the office


  • Offer employees a wide range of healthy snacks, beverages, and meal options
  • Use self-checkout kiosks so employees can access healthy choices at any time of the day and don’t have to worry about potential problems with a vending machine
  • Help employers attract and retain employees (it’s an awesome benefit!) and decrease expenses related to other types of food service

Have you considered adding one of these great benefits to your Chicago office break room? We’d love to help you determine which one fits your needs best. If you already offer specialty coffee service or a micro-market and are looking to change-up your offerings, we can help you with that too. Contact Mark Vend at (847) 291-9216 to learn more.

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