If the company picnic isn't cutting it, listen up. Skip the typical off-site bonding exercise for the heat of the kitchen. There's a new way to bond at work. Companies are finding a new ingredient to building teamwork: cooking together.
"Food is a universal language and it just brings people together. It's a great thing to do for corporate team building", said Bibby Gignilliat, founder of Parties that Cook, which is feeding the need for corporate team building.
Gignilliat says bringing colleagues together and having them prepare a meal together spices up competition between co-workers. The result? Dinner garnished with camaraderie, served with a side of competitive edge.
"Building consensus, communicating is really important, goal setting, meeting deadlines," said Gignilliat. "All that can go back to the office."
American companies dish out an estimated $60 billion dollars every year on employee development. Factor in time away from the office – as much as $300 billion a year. But rolling up your sleeves and standing over a hot stove with your co-workers may be priceless, if that means a cohesive work force that could skewer the competition.
Parties that Cook is tasting a 35 percent spike in revenue this year. Charging anywhere from $75-$100 a head, they're whipping up culinary team building events in San Francisco, LA and Chicago. With 70% of business coming from corporate clients like Merrill Lynch, Barclays Global Investors and Wells Fargo.
"It's been great from the team building aspect. We've had to plan. We've had to organize and we've really had a lot of fun," said Paul Tian of Wells Fargo.
One of the company's most popular events is a timed competition where groups slice and dice in teams, to see who can stir up the best entrée for the judges' palate. Amateur chefs are welcome, and everyone gets to feast on the fruits of their labor.
Want your business to be a cut above the rest? Strap on an apron and fire up the grill. The recipe for your team's success could be one bite away.