From group lunches and dinners for people working late to catering for client meetings and employee parties, food plays a huge part in the workplace. If you’re given the task of managing these food orders, you’ll know what a pain it can be to keep track of who doesn’t want extra cheese on their pasta, who likes their food gluten free, and so on. Add to this the task of staying within a budget, processing invoices and filing expense reports, and it just becomes even more challenging. Nevertheless, there are ways to manage it all more easily. If you’re charged to order lunch for your next event at work, follow these tips to avoid any hassles:
1. Set a budget
Find out the number of people eating, then set a limit for each person, say $10, to get a rough estimate to work with. Remember that food is always ‘cheaper by the dozen’; this means you don’t have to spend all $10 on food alone. If you plan your menu well, you can spare something for dessert as well as for the tax, tip or delivery expenses. You can also consider ordering group meals rather than individually packed lunches to save more. If you’re on a tight budget, there are several ways to work a business lunch into it.
2. Take into account dietary restrictions and appetites
The trickiest part is figuring out what to order and how much. To make things simple, ask around for any food preferences or diet restrictions, and find out if there are people with big appetites. This way, everyone will be satisfied.
3. Choose a restaurant
The budget often limits your restaurant choices. However, if you look hard enough, you will be able to find good places to dine in without going beyond your allocation plans. To ensure the food is exceptional, pick a restaurant that serves freshly cooked meals using the best quality produce available. Also, ask whether the place offers delivery or requires pick-up. If you are ordering food for a big crowd, say, during conferences, it’s a good idea to find a bigger venue and hire a catering service. This way, you won’t have to worry about having enough space for dining or dealing with the cleaning-up part later. If you don’t know any reliable vendors, here are some resources that might help:
4. Book or place you order in advance
Call the restaurant at least one day in advance so that they will have plenty of time to prepare your order. Whether you arrange delivery or dine in, make sure to inform them what time you plan to eat, e.g. at noon or mid-afternoon. This way, the food will be delivered or served on time. Make sure to have a list of your orders, too, so you can check whether something is incorrect or missing. To keep things organised and make checking easier, you might want to enter the food orders into a spreadsheet beforehand.
5. Get feedback
To have a foolproof reference for future events catering, it’s worth keeping a list of restaurants that your colleagues liked. To do this, solicit feedback each time you try a new restaurant to figure out how the majority feels about it.
Ordering food for corporate lunches and functions is not as easy as ordering your daily double burger at fast food joints. But, with the help of these tips, you can make it as plain sailing as possible.