You may have seen that Mastercard is partnering with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) to ‘Make It a Date’ on Wednesday, October 10, building on the more than $41 million we donated to support cancer research since 2010. Actress, producer and SU2C ambassador Mindy Kaling helped us launch the 24-hour dining campaign in honor of SU2C’s 10-year anniversary. The beauty of this year’s collaboration is that we’re making it easy to donate via the simple act of dining out on October 10 for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and anything in between.
Let’s take a moment to talk about one of these meals in particular – lunch. Millions of Americans regularly dine at their desks during the work week, whether they reheat leftovers from home or rush out to grab something to go. When we heard about this year’s partnership, we thought – finally, a reason to dine out for lunch, rather than eat alone at your desk across from a screen.
In fact, spending time with your colleagues outside of the office setting helps build a stronger workplace culture and makes for happier employees. Our dine-out day on October 10 offers the perfect opportunity to skip your sad desk lunch, dine out with a friend or colleague and support cancer research. We commissioned a survey to understand consumer behavior and sentiment around lunch, validating that the state of lunch in America has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to physical and mental health – as well as workplace culture.
- Defy the Lunch Break Status Quo: Ninety-four percent of those employed do not typically dine out in a restaurant for lunch – rather, Americans eat 2.3 meals at their desk a week on average (among those who are employed and work in a desk environment). The most popular lunch option is bringing lunch from home (51%), preferred by women (55%) slightly more than men (47%).
- Swap Out Your Screen for a Lunch Date: About two out of five (37%) consumers eat more meals looking at a screen (e.g., TV, phone, computer, laptop, tablet) than a real person, while sixty-two percent of employed consumers would rather eat lunch with colleagues or friends than alone.
- Stand Up for Your Health: Eighty-nine percent of those employed agree that sitting for much of the day is bad for their health, yet nearly half (47%) of those who work in a desk environment eat at their desk at least three times a week. It’s important to stand up and take a break, as the health benefits of doing so aren’t just physical –73 percent of those employed think their mental health would improve if they could take a break from work to go out for lunch.
- Call on Your Colleagues: While the employed population is split nearly in half on whether they would like to get to know their co-workers more (48% say they wish they had more time to get to know their co-workers personally), 70 percent agree that spending time with co-workers outside of the work environment makes work better. Lunch is an easy way to spend more time with co-workers and, as a result, strengthen workplace culture.
- Enhance the Workplace: Eighty-one percent of those employed think they’d be more productive during the day if they could regularly take a break for lunch. Plus, the majority of those employed who eat at their desk at least once a week say that if they were to eat away from their desk more often, they would be more creative (64%), in a better mood (74%), and healthier overall (73%).
I am guilty of eating lunch alone at my desk more often than I’d like to admit, but we have the power to change that. I challenge myself and my colleagues at Mastercard, along with you and your colleagues, to ‘Make It a Date’ on 10/10 in support of cancer research. Invite someone you work closely with, someone new to your team, or even a big group from your office. You can learn more at www.mastercard.com/priceless.
Source: Data provided from and independent global market research firm. Total sample size was 1,199 adults. Fieldwork was conducted between 25th – 26th September, 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted to be representative of all US adults (aged 18+). At the 95% confidence level, the sample has a margin of error of +/-2.8 percentage points.