Food, Perks / Fringe Benefits

Schulte Nixes Seamless Before 8:30

Most Biglaw New York lawyers would die of malnutrition without SeamlessWeb. Malnutrition, people! Because nobody has time to run down 50 floors to grab a bite to eat after hours.

Given the recession, charging 6:30 steak dinners to clients is no longer cool. But Schulte Roth & Zabel could be taking its anti-Seamless policy a bit too far. Here’s the email Schulte attorneys received last night:

The Firm cafeteria goes to great lengths to provide menu choices that reflect your preferences, and we are constantly looking for new ways to improve those offerings and keep the cafeteria operating as efficiently as possible. Attorneys and legal assistants working in the office on a client-related matter past 7:30 p.m. are encouraged to patronize Café 23, which is open for dinner Monday through Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Beginning April 5th, 2010, you will not be able to place orders through SeamlessWeb until 8:30 p.m. on weekday evenings.

We recognize that this change will cause some of you to rethink your dining options and, to that end, we ask you to let us know what types of food you would like the cafeteria to provide at dinnertime and then give Café 23 a try. Please email your comments and suggestions to [Redacted], Director of Food Services. Thank you.

Screwing around with SeamlessWeb is one sure way to piss off everybody that works for you. And boy are Schulte associates pissed …

Put aside for a second the question of whether 8:30 is the appropriate time to start Seamless ordering. Tipsters had a much more fundamental concern:

Have you ever been to cafe 23? It is terrible. I’m sure a man of your nutritional requirements can understand the importance of having a filling meal when you are working hard.

Another tipster echos the feeling (without the subtle fat joke):

Cafe 23? Vitamin supplements are more tasty.

Hey, don’t give Schulte any ideas — associates will be getting emails from Lt. Jonathan Kendrick before too long.

I actually have been to Cafe 23 at Schulte. All I can say is that Schulte associates should make friends with somebody from Debevoise (Schulte and Debevoise are in the same building). The D&P cafeteria is awesome. Cafe 23? Not so much.

But another tipster believes that Schulte is on a systematic campaign to cheap its associates:

Other niggling things the firm has done with the guidance of the head bean counter:

* stopped stocking the pantries with large coffee cups – now only small cups are available
* cheaper thinner paper napkins in the pantries
* double sided printing on the high-speed printers (claimed it was going green but recyclables are not segregated past the floor on which they are generated)
* higher employee medical insurance contributions
* another round of billing rate increases as the bonuses have been gutted

Anybody out there at Schulte care to boycott??

When you work as a Biglaw attorney, you want to feel important. You want to feel classy. You do not want to feel like your company needs to nickel and dime you at every opportunity. It’s not like Schulte needs to cut back on coffee expenses in order to make payroll.

Maybe Schulte doesn’t much care about associate morale. But firms should tread lightly around SeamlessWeb privileges. A dispirited associate class is one thing. An angry associate class is a little bit more problematic.

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