I am in the process of trying to convince my boss to have catered lunches at work. The company is still in its scrappy startup phase so money is a little tight. I was wondering if anyone could point me to any studies or articles on the beneficent of free lunch at work, and if anyone could talk about if free lunches are a worthwhile perk for a small software company where the money is still a little tight.
You might want to look at some studies in organizational behaviors.
I am not sure what book is available to you. Look for the chapter of "motivation". Three theories are worth studying:
However, the literature does not answer your question directly. You have to apply the theory to your culture, context, company structure, etc.
Ask yourself these questions:
At where I am(Canada), free lunch is very rare in small companies. Even in fast food restaurants, some require employee pay 1/2 price for food.
Joel Spolsky has a few good articles on the importance of employees eating together. Here's one of them.