This technique started in 2009 in Southern California and has been used in offices including a certain major animation studio, and a popular sports tv network that can not be named for legal reasons. Due to the current economic climate, and the ingenuity of this prank/scam it has slowly been gaining popularity.
The fact that the alleged victims do not feel cheated and the harmless friendly nature of the crime/theft, no official complaint was ever filed.
The ideal food to use for this con is pizza, but it has also been used for places like IN'N OUT and Chipotle due to their popularity.
The bigger the group, the easier it is to pull off this con.
A variation of this scam is when the originator does not end up with extra cash, and just gets a free meal.
(Other instances have popped up as far as Boston)
Coworker 2,3,...+n: Yea lets do it, here is my 5 dollars
Coworker 1 just did Pizza Scammed his coworkers