Twitter workers who survived the chopping block after Elon Musk overpaid for the social media site will soon have to pay for their own meals.
The billionaire said he will scrap the free meals served at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco because it was costing the company around $400 per worker.
Musk completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter last month and promptly fired about half of the 7,500-person workforce.
He also proceeded to mandate a return to the office and pointed to the lack of mouths to feed as driving up the cost of the free-lunch program.
Musk took to Twitter on Sunday to say that offering free meals at the company cafeteria had become unsustainable because “almost no one came to the office.”
He estimated the free meals cost the company around $13 million a year.
A Twitter employee who quit after Musk took over denied his claims hours later, saying the free meals cost the company no more than $25 per person per day.
“This is a lie. I ran this program up until a week ago when I resigned because I didn’t want to work for @elonmusk,” tweeted Tracy Hawkins, Twitter’s former vice president of work transformation.
“For breakfast & lunch we spent $20-$25 a day per person. This enabled employees to work thru lunchtime & mtgs. Attendance was anything from 20-50% in the offices.”
Musk fired back, saying the company’s records indicate office occupancy peaked at 25%, with an average of about 10%.
“There are more people preparing breakfast than eating breakfast,” Musk said. “They don’t even bother serving dinner, because there is no one in the building.”
Musk’s decision to charge for food sparked debate on Twitter, with many accusing the mogul of attempting to “starve” his employees.
“He fired 3/4 of the employees. Now he’s planning to starve the rest of them,” one user said.
Others, however, pointed out that free lunch is far from the norm in most offices, even for a tech company.
“Does anybody really think that companies that don’t provide free lunch are ‘starving’ their employees?” one user tweeted. “I never worked anywhere where lunch was free, but somehow I survived.”