*Updated blog post in August 2019*
There comes a time in any office (hopefully sooner than later) when pizza no longer makes the cut. Whether you’re arranging the annual holiday party, preparing a monthly team building meeting or trying to impress clients or recruits, the key to a great office lunch or corporate catering of any kind all comes down to planning. Some people freeze when the term “corporate catering” hits the table, but if you use these vetted steps, your work event or daily office lunch will run so smoothly and make a lasting impression on everyone who attends that it will soon be old hat.
Step one: pick a leader
Just like having too many cooks in a kitchen, it’s easy to have too many planners for an event. Feel free to delegate tasks (invitations, beverages, etc.), but assign one person to coordinate everything in order to stay on target.
Step two: establish your budget
Great ideas can sometimes create great expenses, so know how much you can spend. Putting 20% of your total event budget aside to order extra food for last-minute guests and pay unexpected fees is more than a best practice; it’ll keep you from breaking the bank. Expenditures on associated items such as napkins, plates, cups, and decorations can add up quickly so make sure you account for everything before you start ordering meals.
Step three: know your eaters
In a large group, there will be food allergies, dietary restrictions, and a picky eater or two. Ask your attendees about their personal preferences or needs, and always account for a few extra vegetarian and gluten-free options in case people don’t get back to you. When your menu is selected and the food is ready to serve, make sure everything is labeled with the name of the dish and ingredients to avoid an unhappy eater.
Step four: set up for maximum enjoyment
Keep your event in the office to cut out most of your venue variables (someone getting held up at work, parking issues, people getting lost, and so on). Spread out main dishes and appetizers in multiple locations so people don’t bunch together, and make sure there are plenty of napkins and trash cans throughout your space so people can spend their time and energy mingling instead of looking for the essentials. If you think there might be too much food, have carry out containers ready so people can easily take a doggy bag home.
It’s equally important is to consider the purpose of the event itself. If it’s a reoccurring office lunch, try to avoid messy, hands-on foods to keep your coworkers from spilling on keyboards and work projects. If your business attire is upscale, skip the soups or sauce-heavy dishes to keep everyone’s shirts clean and dry.
Luckily for you, the team here at Foodee worked with each restaurant partner to develop menus specifically for corporate catering and office lunch. No mess. No fuss.
Step five: localize the experience
If you can have alcohol in the office, pick up a variety of local craft beers in bottles and cans so everyone can sample something new. The food will be a highlight, so let the menu and the people behind it ensure that your event shines. Restaurants often have special catering-only menus that may surprise you. Our Foodee local food experts would be happy to help you find the best in your city.
Step six: let someone bring it all to you
Whether you’re ordering daily or weekly lunches for five people or orchestrating a reception for five hundred people, something always comes up at the last minute. Instead of scrambling to find the time to pick up everything, use a local service like Foodee (we specialize in bringing meals to modern offices like yours) to deliver right to your company so that you can focus on helping everything else fall into place.