How To... Order Food For A Meeting
In Scheduling, Calendar & Meeting Arrangement By stacymorgan

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Our minds are emotionally tied to our stomachs.  You know this, I know this, and everyone at work knows this.  Therefore, improperly executed office catering arrangements can reflect very poorly on the food coordinator.  If that’s you, it won’t be pretty.  Follow this guide to office catering to keep hungry coworkers at bay, and then focused on the meeting at hand.


Meeting DetailsThe necessary information you need to gather up front for the meeting is date, time, location and especially the number of attendees of the meeting.  Why the latter?  How do you know how much food you’ll need to order?


Order In Advance – Unless your ordering something easy like pizza, try to order 1-2 days in advance.  Especially with really large catered affairs, which sometimes require you to book weeks in advance.


Quantity – This always varies, but it’s usually best to order for 1-2 servings per person, plus 5.  So if you have 15 people.  Order enough for about 30-35 servings of food.


Food Selection – Find out if you are to order from a specific place or if you also will be making the food selection.  Either way, if you are the overall designated “food selector”, good luck.  Just remember a few things.  It’s best to use a restaurant or caterer that you are familiar with.  Avoid messy items (this is not the time or place for meatball grinders).  Also try to stay away from common food allergies (peanuts, shellfish).  Basically, just use common sense.  And yes, for all the reasons above, pizza is usually a safe bet and an office favorite. 


Payment – Meeting food is generally paid for up front via a company credit card.  But it’s also possible your company has an account with a local restaurant, so check up on that.  Other times, especially in smaller offices, someone shells out the money for the food and then later submits it for reimbursement.  Regardless of method, ALWAYS get the receipt.


Place the Order Be clear with the restaurant or catering company on what meeting food you are ordering – special orders, quantities and whatever else.  Also specify that you will require appropriate numbered plates and utensils – one of each utensil per person, plus five.  Then schedule food to arrive prior to the start of the meeting.  For small orders, 15 to 20 minutes early.  For large orders, 20-30 minutes early.  And don’t forget the beverages!  Last thing you need is dry mouth during the presentations.


Be Prepared The morning of the meeting call the catering company and confirm the food order, delivery location/meeting room food, delivery time and any other special instructions.  Be ready for the delivery when it arrives, and don’t hesitate to call if they are even 5 minutes late, since you have a small window to set up for the office luncheon. 


Coordinating office catering is a relatively thankless job, but hungry coworkers are cranky coworkers, so it’s important to get this one right.  Then when the meeting is over and done with, and successful, you’ll know you did good fueling the process and getting the job done right.

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