Mullen’s cafeteria: eat your heart out

Google, Hearst, UPS, Yum! Brands, Sprint-Nextel. I have no idea if any of these are good places to work. But according to the latest U.S. News and World Report, they’re all damn fine places to eat. Mullen, the ad agency, is on the list, too. Or as the IPG shop in Wenham, Mass., refers to its on-site corporate cafeteria: the Mullen Café. There are few restaurants in the woods an hour north of Boston, so pretty much everyone at Mullen eats in the café. A chef starts prep at 5:30 a.m. daily to feed the 420 staffers. Three gourmet entrees are served at lunch, each costing employees about $3.50. Cajun grouper was today’s main course. Contrast this approach with Yum!, owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and Taco Bell. It serves food from some of its chains in its Louisville, Ky., cafe. No problem there, but the company takes things way too seriously, mimicking Pizza Hut’s decor and encouraging its white-collar staff to make tacos and pan pizzas. The idea is give them a “taste” (all too literally) of what it’s like for the minimum-wage earners out in the field. Which would you choose: Yum!, tricked out like a giant mall eatery, reminding you where you worked when you were 16, or Mullen, where they give you a daily dose of luxurious dining? The answer’s simple. Order the grouper. (Though I wouldn’t turn down a chalupa on the side.)

—Posted by David Gianatasio

Photo: Mullen