Google's offices in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood are the latest to feel the pinch, with hours curtailed and snack service cut back, according to an internal memo. To understand what a shock to the system this is, remember how, when Google went public four years ago, cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin swore they would increase employee perks over time. Since then, Google PR has built the company's great-place-to-work reputation largely on its free meals. How fast things change: Just a year ago, the luxe perks of Google's New York office were a selling point, as the search engine courted the city's fashionistas. Now the food is just another cost to cut. Starving artists, don't count on mooching off free meals courtesy of your Googler friends: Google New York is also cracking down on guests. Here's the memo New York Googlers received Tuesday around lunchtime:

From: "Kim Huskey" Date: October 28, 2008 12:44:03 PM EDT To: [REDACTED] Subject: [Everyone-ny] NYC Cafe and Microkitchen Updates Hi Everyone, Changes have been made recently to programs throughout our company to ensure cost effectiveness and consistency across offices. In New York City, our food service team has closely examined cafe usage, food consumption and labor costs to find areas where efficiency can be improved without compromising food quality and nutrition. We would like to announce the following NYC-specific changes to the food service program: * Meals The below hours were determined to be the most cost effective to serve meals based on traffic flow to cafes. * Breakfast will be served from 8:30-9:30am (formerly 8:00-9:30am) and the menu will be simplified. * Lunch will be served from 11:30am-2:00pm (formerly 11:30-2:30pm). * Dinner will be served from 6:30-8:00pm (formerly 6:00-8:00pm). Please note that dinner is provided for those working late in the office and is not intended to be taken home. * Microkitchens * Those of you who have been around for a while know that the microkitchens started for a variety of good reasons, including a genuine desire to make it easy for folks to grab some food while working long and/or odd hours. While we are staying true to that original purpose, we are also looking for ways to be smarter, more cost-efficient, and more earth-friendly in the usage and product offerings of our microkitchens. * There will be changes to the selection of snacks in the microkitchens. We will be sending a survey to Googlers in NYC soon asking for them to vote on their favorite snacks. * Socials and Guest Policy * Afternoon tea on Tuesdays will be suspended. Similar to Mountain View, there may be occasional surprise "snack attacks" in the future. * On those occasions when a senior executive would like to speak at TGIAF, temps, contractors, vendors and guests will be restricted from attending, for confidentiality reasons. * To maintain consistency with other Google offices, we are going to adopt the guest policy announced in MV last month. Please see below for more detail about this policy. We look forward to continuing to provide Googlers with a great meal experience every day. Questions, comments or concerns can be sent to [REDACTED] Thank you, Kim Huskey Food Services Manager Northeast and Canada