We heard from Serge (a motion graphics designer at SAP) in early April. He and his colleague Rana wanted to bring in fresh food options and create a space where they could relax and well, replenish. We met up with Serge to learn more about him, his life at SAP, and the importance of good nutrition in the workplace.
Why did you push for Replenish in the office?
I pushed for Replenish because we don’t have the option to eat anything after 2pm, when the cafeteria closes. There was no viable, good, healthy solution. Apart from eating bananas all the time.
I stumbled onto your website from an article I had read and it seemed like a really, really cool product – a robotic blender that cleans itself, so you don’t have to do anything. And the cups looked pretty healthy – all the ingredients were listed and there were no names I couldn’t pronounce. It was all real whole food.
“We were surprised they just pulled it from our hands and the next thing we knew – Replenish was here in a couple weeks.”
How exactly did you get them to bring Replenish?
Well, I spoke with my co-worker Rana who was already talking with Raquel, our Facilities Manager, and the food service providers from Bon Appétit.
Kelly, General Manager and Melissa, Executive Chef at Bon Appétit were extremely supportive from the start. They said: “We love it. Let’s see what we can do.”
We were surprised they just pulled it from our hands and the next thing we knew – Replenish was here in a couple weeks. We were super surprised how fast it came!
As Rana said, we give credit to Raquel, Kelly and Melissa because they love good ideas.
Before Replenish came, what would you do for food after 2pm?
Well, I normally eat around noon and get pretty hungry around 4 or 5pm. If you’re working on a project and you start to get hungry it’s a really big distraction. Which is what was happening to me. I’d be really hungry but trying to not eat a bunch of sugary snacks because I don’t want to get diabetes and die young.
So I would get these dairy-free protein blends but they just didn’t have that flavor or texture of food that I like. They were filling but I wasn’t enjoying that experience.
When I heard about Replenish, it seemed to offer those things for me. It looked filling, all natural and like an enjoyable experience.
Initially, I was just trying to buy it for my myself – for my desk – but that’s when I learned that the facilities and Bon Appétit teams could help me.
“So I would get these dairy-free protein blends but they just didn’t have the flavor or texture of food that I like.”
Serge Berig walking the beautiful SAP campus
What does “eating well” to you?
Eating well is satisfying, relaxing, and comforting.
For me eating is to satisfy a hunger – a need.
I get into projects really deep and I put a lot of mental focus into them. Food makes me comfortable and able to think.
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
I would just love to have a conversation with our president. Our current President, but I wouldn’t have him over because I suck at cooking (which is one of the reasons why I like Replenish since it’s quick and easy).
What would constitute as a “perfect” day for you?
My perfect day not including work would be going skateboarding down a mountain at an event like Maryhill Free Ride. My friend Brian Shand makes aerospace grade composite longboards and I got to design one with him, it’s a beautiful board called the Raptor.
The cool .gif vending machine in the SAP lobby.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I feel grateful for my parents.
They brought me to America because there were not a lot of opportunities for people in Russia during the fall of the Soviet Union. My parents came here with no money at all. My dad was out on the streets passing out flyers in Brooklyn to help the pay the bills.
I was 4 years old when we came, my mom told me my birthday was on the plane.
They were determined and very smart people. They made a great sacrifice to come to this country and they worked really, really hard.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part is that I get to work with really cool colleagues that are just passionate and supportive. They are good people, easy to deal with, the EQ/IQ is up there, they all have a high level of emotional and cognitive intelligence.
Just a good supportive environment. It’s the people you work with on a daily basis that can make a huge difference.