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Free lunch part of turnaround vision for Yahoo!

Yahoo! employees have a lot on their plates these days, but at least the food is free. 

Whether or not she can turn around the struggling Internet giant, new CEO Marissa Mayer wasted no time proving that she at least knows how to give flagging employee morale a quick shot in the arm. The company announced Friday that the chow at the URL’s Cafe in its Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters will be complementary.

Free lunch has become a standard perk in the offices of Silicon Valley heavyweights, including at Mayer’s former employer, Google.

Kara Swisher at Wall Street Journal tech blog AllThingsD reported the news of this and other changes Mayer is implementing that will reinvent the company in the image of her old workplace, such as a weekly Friday-afternoon meeting for all employees, better promotional doodads at the company store and plans to redesign the office space to encourage more collaboration between workers.

Swisher cited unidentified sources who said Mayer is marshalling the troops to focus on and improve core Yahoo! products like search, email and Flickr. There also are rumors of a soon-to-be-announced “big splashy tech or product deal,” she wrote, perhaps an acquisition.

Mayer took the helm at Yahoo! two weeks following a resume-padding scandal that prompted the ouster of former CEO Scott Thompson in May. She is the company's sixth CEO in four years.

The Thompson affair was just the latest blow for the company’s tarnished reputation in the eyes of activist investors impatient to see a long-promised turnaround materialize.

Maybe Mayer should consider offering free lunch at the next shareholder meeting. 

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