In many offices, snacking all day is a time-honored tradition. But at Drop, we don’t just eat the snacks — we make them ourselves. Whether you’re an iOS wizard, marketing guru, or accounts extraordinaire, everyone on the team makes food to share in the office.
When we released our first product, Drop Scale, back in 2014, our mission was to make baking with great results possible for anyone — regardless of skill level.
It’s something we feel strongly about, and with the feedback we were getting from Drop Recipes users, we knew it was something our community was passionate about too. From baking beginnings, we now have recipes for all occasions.
As well as the health benefits of making
Incorporating cooking into the culture, and sharing the results as a group, leads to the team having small, meaningful experiences together every day. Anecdotes about the first time someone tried the food on offer, how difficult finding the ingredients was, or admissions that this is someone’s first time baking since childhood (or ever). All combine to build supportive relationships that really come in handy when you’re working together on a deadline.
More business, fewer biscuits
Over the past year, we’ve been working harder than ever. We’ve launched multiple new brand partnerships and appliance integrations (with more to come), built a localization engine that soon will allow our worldwide community to cook in their own languages, doubled the size of the team, and invested in platform and company infrastructure.
With that much going on, time in the kitchen started sneaking more toward time at our desks. Almost-daily cooking turned into every-few-weeks cooking. When high priority tasks are awaiting attention, it can be difficult to ignore them in favor of cooking in our test kitchen (as much as we do love procrasti-baking).
However, Make Food More is one of our core company values: it shapes the products we build and the experience we’re trying to create for the people that use those products. Values should not just be words on paper, or words stuck on a wall with an accompanying poster. When we hold tough choices up to strongly-held core values, the “right” answer becomes clear.
”Everyone is now not only encouraged, but expected, to schedule time in the kitchen.
Finding the balance
The arrival of some new members of the team was the perfect time to once again make cooking a ritual in the office. With Make Food More in mind, we set up a blackboard by the water cooler with two-hour time slots and the question “Who’s cooking?”.
Everyone is now not only encouraged, but expected, to schedule time in the kitchen.
To stoke the flame, we started a company-wide project where every single team member got to choose a number of recipes to make, photograph, and publish using Drop Creator, our recipe creation tool. The recipes will then show up in the Community feed in the Drop Recipes app for anyone to enjoy.
Team members are encouraged to cook at least twice a month, but if the inspiration (or hunger) strikes then creating more delicious treats is absolutely applauded.
Because we believe that sharing food is a powerful way to connect, we ask team members to cook a recipe that links the rest of us to their home region’s cuisine or a beloved family recipe. Other recipe candidates are dishes they think the app is missing at the moment, or reliable recipes they make all the time at home and want to share.
Luckily, with such a diverse team, this has made our in-office taste-tests into a multicultural smorgasbord! Other than “make at least two recipes per month,” there are no rules. Make simple baked chickpeas or take on an all day bread-making project. One day we’re on a sugar high from cupcakes, the next, we’re dipping veggies into a spicy sweet potato hummus. Salmorejo from Southern Spain, Toast Skagen from Sweden… the list goes on!
So what are the benefits of eating each other’s creations in the office? Well, it reminds us what we’re working towards and why – that our guiding ethos is to encourage everyone to make food more. It’s a really, really great excuse to grab a quick break in the middle of the day and bond over something delicious made by the person one desk over. Mingling with new people is a lot easier when you have a plate of cheesy jalapeno cornbread in hand, so new team members always cook something in their first week on the job.
As an added bonus, it also aligns with one of our other core values: Obsess about customer experience. You don’t have to be a master chef to make something fun and tasty to share with the team. In fact, if you’re a total novice, it’s even better. The more we use our own products, the sooner we’re able to identify pain points and improve the user experience.
And of course, the zoomed-in shots of people stuffing their faces make excellent Slack #random content afterward.
Here are some of the things the Drop team has cooked up over the past few weeks:
from PRODUCT DESIGN
“I picked this Seedy Brown Bread recipe because it’s one of my Mam’s staples. I’ve been threatening to learn how to make it myself for years, so this was the perfect opportunity. Happily, it’s just as easy to make as she always claimed it was. I’ve made it a good few times since and it always comes out perfect, even in the hands of a kitchen amateur like myself. She has gotten to sample it herself since, and she (thankfully) approves, phew!”
“I’ve been a big fan of the recipes on No Crumb’s Left lately, so I found the sweet potato recipe on there and it sounded yummy, simple and something everyone in the office would enjoy. I thought the pancakes needed a nice dip to slather on, so I found the recipe for the Chermoula from my other favorite food blog, My New Roots. The combination of Moroccan spices with the yogurt paired perfectly with the sweet and crispy pancakes. I will totally make this recipe again and use the Kenwood kCook next time to grate the sweet potatoes to speed up the process.”
“My little sister’s brownies have gained a legendary status in our house, but I’ve never actually attempted them myself. When I first took them out of the oven I was worried I’d undercooked them as they were such a gooey, chocolatey mess! They were actually cooked (which was a relief!), just definitely living up to their gooey name. They’re incredibly rich, but I managed to steal a few raspberries from Sophie’s bake that morning to serve with them, which I definitely recommend!”
“Toast Skagen is a Swedish classic, often served as an appetizer at special occasion dinners and I thought it would be a fun treat for everyone at our company-wide Friday standup. It’s super easy to make when you have the ingredients, but I had to visit quite a few local fishmongers in search of the right kind of shrimp and roe. Which, here in Dublin, can be a quite interesting experience in itself.”
“I really like both peanuts and cookies, but never tried to combine them together. It was a great experiment! I was happy with how they turned out — light, fluffy cookies with a subtle peanut flavor. They made a perfect afternoon snack here in the office.”
from FINANCE AND OPERATIONS
“When I was choosing which recipe I wanted to bake for the Drop office this week I had three main criteria. It had to be something quick, easy to the point of being foolproof, and most importantly delicious! These Vanilla Melting Moments are all three — there’s also minimal tools involved, which means less to clean up. Bonus points! These super light, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits are a real crowd pleaser if the Drop office is anything to go by!”
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