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5 Reasons Why a Food Tour is the Best Team Outing in NYC

Published by Josh Hirsch.

Sitting down to share a meal has always been a bonding experience. Families have dinner together, people come to celebrate special life events and holidays, first dates happen over a meal, and many business meetings and important decisions happen with food on the table. Food makes people comfortable and gets them talking. These are just some of the reasons why a food tour is the best option for team building in New York City.

Sidewalk Food Tours witnesses these benefits every day. There is no doubt in our minds that people enjoy sampling some of the best foods that NYC has to offer while getting to know the people they work with every day. In many industries, the ease with which your employees interact with each other matters for your overall success. Fostering a sense of professional friendship will help everyone feel more comfortable and learn about everyone else on the team. This can translate into smoother operations in the office or other workplace.

These five excellent reasons why your company should schedule a NYC food tour for your next team building experience should tell you everything you need to know about the benefits you will find. 

Friends around a dinner table

Enjoy the company of your team outside of the office

Food Tours Promote Mingling and Socializing

You have seen it in the office break room or cafeteria. People use the time to eat and socialize with their coworkers and fellow team members. However nice your business’s food options are, the entire experience is still part of work.

When you remove the eating experience outside of the workplace and take a food tour around New York City, people have a chance to be themselves more fully and share sides of their personality that could benefit the workplace. Taking the team out to one restaurant can provide these benefits in a small way, but an entire food tour gives it an additional boost.

As your group walks down the street enjoying the city and visits multiple restaurants on the tour, each person has an opportunity to sit with someone new, chat with people they do not usually interact with much at work, and explore possibilities in friendship and camaraderie.

2 friends bonding over food

Bond over a shared love of food

People Bond Over Food Naturally

Besides providing the opportunity to chat and mingle, scientific research backs up the fact that people bond over food. A University of Oxford study showed that communal eating increases an overall feeling of connection, happiness, and contentment. Despite the positive findings of this and related studies, most people tend to eat alone. If you head to the work cafeteria, you can see this happening every day.

This is not a call to enforce group meals at lunchtime. Some people value their solitude and they need time to unwind and decompress from teamwork activities. However, a food tour encourages togetherness in a unique way because it is a singular event designed for that purpose. Best of all, it does not happen right before everyone has to go back to work. There is time to relax and let your hair down to some degree.

Food tours gently enforce a type of community bonding that naturally makes people feel better when they interact with the people they eat with. Besides liking each other more and feeling generally happier and more content, productivity increases in teams that share eating experiences.

A team building exercise in a relaxing environment

Take some time to relax and let loose!

Food Tours Easily Incorporate Team-Building Exercises

While eating as a group provides benefits, augmenting the experience with additional team-building exercises or activities creates even more. At Sidewalk Food Tours NYC, we have created a unique collection of culinary experiences combined with fun competitions and team games. We offer an optional Jeopardy-style question and answer competition that tests the team’s knowledge about the unique locations, food, and fun facts shared by the food tour guide.

Our food tours, like our Pizza, Beer & History Tour, for example, incorporate interesting information about the location and the city itself. Adding in a game promotes more interaction between the employees so they can enjoy themselves while figuring things out and using their own unique skills to help the entire team win. This mimics many of the activities they will have to do at work every day. However, it makes everything much more enjoyable because they get to have pizza and beer at the same time. 

Play and learning are two of the most helpful tools when it comes to fostering the cooperation of the team at work. Friendly competition can encourage everyone to do their best and to help each other, or at least those on their own team. This is why workplace contests and fun rewards are so commonly used to promote productivity and innovative thought and action. If you set the bar for this type of creative teamwork during a fun event, it will carry over at the office. 

Co-workers collaborating on a project

Stop! Collaborate and Listen!

Team Members Learn More in a Multi-cultural Way

In this multi-cultural world full of many types of diversity, your workplace undoubtedly has a wide variety of people. Despite their differences, food is a constant. Everyone must eat and, while many people readily try food from different cultures, they may not get the whole picture of how it affects their life unless they share it with someone who knows. 

Eating together as a group is not only about sharing a meal and feeling connected. It is also about understanding the differences in what people eat, how they eat, and their attitudes toward food in general. Acceptance and understanding diversity often begins with finding common ground. It may be difficult for some of your employees to discover that with people who look, sound, or seem much different than they are. 

This is one thing that makes a food tour such a powerful option for team building. Food makes sharing culture easier and more comfortable. It promotes breaking down perceived barriers and promoting connections between people who must work and interact together as a team. 

Even without overt bigotry or ignorance, people unfortunately have preconceived notions or hesitation when it comes to interacting with a diverse group of people in some cases. The natural bonding experience that occurs while breaking bread together can easily show the similarities that override any differences. It can even introduce new ideas to others who may not have considered them before. Just how much hot sauce will you add to your meal may transform into an increased willingness to try something new and unique at the office.

Co-workers enjoying the benefits of a food tour

Get out of the office and enjoy eating your way around the city

Food Tours Do Not Include Awkward, Forced Team Activities

One of the most powerful reasons why food tours in New York City are the best team building exercises is the simple fact that they are not anything like all of those that people hate. In a list of most despised team building activities, sharing a meal or any type of food is not represented. Even people with particular dietary needs enjoy eating with others.

The activities that people don’t like include:

1 – Forced physicality that may leave people feeling like they cannot compete or contribute to the group. Things like obstacle courses in paintball fights can destroy any positivity or camaraderie you worked so hard to create.

2 – Excessive sharing of personal information or their opinions about their coworkers can lead to hurt feelings or misunderstandings that damage the ability to work together successfully.

3 – Any games or activities that worked at summer camp when you are all children will not work with adults who need to interact professionally most of the time. Things like three-legged races or passing apples with your chin are simply uncomfortable and far too personal in many cases.

4 – Activities that demand blind trust between the team members are more likely to destroy it. People become very uncomfortable blindfolded or if someone they do not know has to lead them through a maze or control their hands to do an activity. Trust falls are even worse.

Now, compare any of those cringe-worthy experiences with the idea of a delicious and accessible food tour in New York City. As established above, everyone eats. As there are allowances for vegans, vegetarians, and always options for people who simply do not like a particular type of food, everyone can feel included without worry or embarrassment. Eating together has been scientifically shown to promote bonding and a sense of happiness for everyone involved. Surely this is a better outcome than feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable with other team-building exercises.

Soft skills and more personal connections are important parts of the modern workplace. Whether you have a new team coming together for a particular project or have managed the same employees for quite some time, there is always the opportunity to improve satisfaction and productivity with intelligent and entertaining group activities. Food tours top the list. With the options available from Sidewalk Food Tours in NYC, everyone involved can find something delicious to eat and the opportunity to get to know their coworkers in new and more positive ways.