First, Elon Musk banned remote work; now Musk is looking at taking away free lunches for staff. According to the New York Times, the new Twitter CEO and Tesla/Space X founder have decided that Twitter will no longer put out free lunches for staff in a bid to save the company $13 million (£11 million) a year.
Elon Musk claimed on Twitter that there were “more people preparing breakfast than eating it” in an exchange with a former Twitter executive on the platform, after previously suggesting that the company was spending $400 per lunch.
Twitter’s vice president of real estate, Tracy Hawkins, disagreed with his calculation, saying attendance was much higher—anywhere from 20% to 50% in the offices. “This is a lie,” posted Hawkins, who said she has chosen to resign rather than work for Musk. “For breakfast and lunch, we spent $20 to $25 a day per person.” This enabled employees to work through lunchtime and meetings.
Musk’s reign as owner of Twitter has been brief, but already it’s created more drama than the social media platform has seen in years. Hate speech spiked amid a loss in content moderation; impostor accounts multiplied like weeds; corporations yanked their advertising, and staff was sacked in a chaotic mass culling.
Instead of calming nerves, the “chief twit” himself has helped inflame them, using his platform to attack critics and opponents alike, warning at one point he would unleash a “thermonuclear name and shame” on companies that succumbed to what he has blasted as activist pressure and pulled their ads. To make matters worse, Twitter’s highest-ranking compliance officers quit as Musk reportedly risks billions in regulatory fines for not complying with a consent decree reached in May with the Federal Trade Commission.
The reputational damage alone he has caused to the brand has some speculating he hopes to write off the $44 billion as a gigantic reservoir of personal tax losses to offset gains from the sale of Tesla shares going forward.
Twitter is losing over $4 million every day by Musk’s count, and it faces a reported $1 billion in additional interest payments to cover the $13 billion in debt Musk piled onto the company as part of the deal. Spending cuts at Twitter have proved a divisive issue, with some seeing Musk’s latest measures as a draconian attempt to recoup the money on his overpaid investment, while others have little sympathy as eliminating perks is naturally one of the first levers to pull when restructuring a company deeply in the red.