From offering free lunches as performance incentives to promoting exchanges across hierarchical lines, companies are starting to see their cafeterias as more than just a place where employees can grab a meal.

Yahoo Japan Corp. introduced in May a unique system in which its ¥500 lunch is free for all employees on certain days if the company achieves its operating profit goal in the previous quarter.

One day at the cafeteria, named BASE6, a 26-year-old employee said the free lunch helps provide feedback on how well the company is doing.