Do Citigroup Employees Get Free Lunch at Cafe Metro?

According to this article, Citigroup employees just have to say the word “Citigroup” to the cashier and their lunch is covered at the Cafe Metro on Lexington and 46th. The author questions whether or not a company that is being bailed out by the Government should be buying lunches for its employees. I’m more interested to know if we could get free lunch by pretending we work for Citigroup.


  • Does this extend to vendors to Citigroup?

  • What’s to stop the hundreds of thousands ” :-)” of people that read this blog from mentioning citigroup at checkout?

  • Well, somebody’s just going to have to try it out and report back!

  • As a 485 Lex employee, all I have to say is: Balderdash!

    Today I’m eating at Pinnacle deli for $10.

  • That’s still overpriced for Cafe Metro.

  • this makes me disgusted on so many levels. Citigroup is completely going belly up.

  • If you think Citi buying a few $10 lunches is the most egregious thing that big financial companies have done with your tax money you are either 1)naïve 2)delusional 3)don’t read much d)all of the above.

    Citi has paid Bob Rubin almost 90 million for bad/wrong advice! I want that job!
    The list goes on, car services for exec’s that live 6 blocks away! And while you got me started…
    How about $150 billion spent in Iraq reconstruction half of which is unaccounted for?

  • Please tell me this is not true….had I seen that, I would have punched that suit in the back of the neck….without hesitation. F’ing criminals! all of them!!!!

  • Btw, Level #1 is “Ew, Metro?”

  • I am a temp (they call it “consulting”) at Citi, I work across the street from this place and recently got a pay cut. Someone get back about whether or not this really works, it might make up for the paycut, if just a bit.

  • Why would they arrange free lunches at Lex and 46th, when there’s a closer Cafe Metro at Lex and 51st? Not to mention the Cafe Europa that’s practically at their front door?

  • Citi is everywhere, hence if this actually exists they probably have similar deals everywhere else

  • A lot of the financial shops in manhattan have lunch programs with the local restaurants. But you can’t just walk in and say “I work for $company”.

    Most lunch caterers require vouchers. The facilities groups distribute lunch vouchers which are often stripped-down versions of the menu, where the lunch choices amount to no more than $10 (and I’m sure the caterers are careful to make sure you get less than $10 worth for your lunch).

    I work for a bank at 9W57th and we have two lunch options: Mangia and Cucina. Cucina is by far the better value (quantity/selection) wise. I could probably eat 2 mangia lunches and feel “satisfied” (though their burgers are decent, but they don’t come with fries, and whoever heard of a burger with fries).

    Oh, well back to the whole “free lunch thing”:

    - The “free lunch” is just a benefit, a part of compensation, no different than transitcheck, having an expense account, or even a comprehensive health plan that includes life insurance or an eyeglass plan.
    - The “free lunch” amounts to $10 worth of food (but what you get for $10 would probably annoy Zach).
    - In order to make use of the program, you need a physical voucher. It’s not like a code-word you use to get into some speakeasy dining establishment. You have to put all your information on the voucher (name, floor, phone extension, etc).
    - Typically you can only use the voucher by filling it out and leaving it in the kitchen, where facilities collects them and delivers them to the caterers so that they can deliver your lunch.
    - Lunch is usually delivered in batches. You don’t know if your lunch will be there by 11:30 or 1pm. Thus you’ll really only get “hot soup” during the summer (it’s 19 degrees out today. I’d be shocked if your soup got to you anything above room temperature).
    - Lastly, in this economy, the “free lunch” thing is usually the first expense to cut.

    I don’t know citi’s program, but this is how it works for most shops that don’t have an in-house cafeteria like the larger shops (MS, Lehman, etc).

  • I really hope this is true! Even if they need some verification, I left the sinking ship for greener pastures a few months ago but I still have my old ID…

  • Having worked at Citi’s offices in the 485 Lex building for 2 years ( which is right across the street from Cafe Metro) .. . I can safely say that this is complete bullsh*t.

    cafe metro sux anyways. hit up pampano or pinnacle … even blarney stone has better food

  • There’s probably no free lunches but if you say “I’m with Merrill Lynch” at the Cafe Europa on 5th Ave. btwn 51st & 52nd you will get a discount. Not sure how much. No ID required. Just saw it happen this morning.

  • Sorry. I meant the Europa on 5th btwn 43rd + 44th.

  • Oh yeah people! There’s DEFINITELY a secret password that gets you free lunch (using taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars of course) at every deli in midtown. I’m willing to share it with you, for $5 each. Just think of the bounty that you’ll score with the secret-magic-rich-people-only password, when all it costs you is $5! I’ll even throw in some shares of the Brooklyn bridge! They come with special lunch rights to the super-secret Brooklyn bridge dining room (you didn’t know there was one right?) where you can eat your free Cafe Metro lunch while bemoaning how the rich financial industry executives are ruining NY and America. FIVE BUCKS people – leave a message here if you’re interested and I’ll send you paypal instructions.

  • There used to be the not so super secret subsidized cafeteria in the basement of the Citigroup building. It was run by Aramark and anyone could go down there. I think it closed in 2002 or 2003.

    FWIW: A couple of months back, I was in Cafe Europe at breakfast time and the person in front of me said “Sloan Kettering” and got a discount on their food. It might have been because they were a regular, but they didn’t have to show ID or hand in a voucher.

  • In my last post, I meant Cafe Europa, not Europe.

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