Few things bring smiles to the faces of office workers like the thought of free food. If you want to hear the workplace hum, announce that lunch will be catered in a few days, and listen to the cheer spread across the office. Before flipping through a few takeout menus and guessing how many sandwiches to order or where the cheapest pizza specials are, you may want to pause and understand the challenge catering a lunch can be. To make sure the provided meal is a success, here are a few of the best ways for any manager to cater lunch at the office. 

Organizational Tricks

You can expect everyone to jump at the idea of free food, and most are probably excited, but there may be a few employees who need to skip lunch, have a special diet, or have made previous arrangement. To get a clear idea of how many will attend the luncheon, follow these steps to help you organize:

  • Get a headcount from each department to have enough food on hand.
  • Send out emails to all participants asking them to be specific about allergies and dietary restrictions so you can be sure to have food options for everyone.
  • Two days before the event, send out a confirmation email to remind everyone. This gives people enough time to add their name to the list or cancel if they need to. 

Order hand wipes, mints, paper plates, drinks, and napkins well before the luncheon. People often go back for seconds if there is enough food, so make sure you have extra plates and utensils on hand. 

Favorite Options

For a quick office lunch, consider the long-time favorites of salads, pizzas, sandwiches, or Chinese cuisine. When you call local shops to ask who has special on phillysteak pizza, don’t forget these questions as well: 

  • Can the restaurant handle a large lunchtime order?
  • Does it deliver to your area?
  • Is delivery time guaranteed?

Remember, depending on the type of food you order, the selection should arrive at least 30 minutes before the event.

Time and Space Problems

During a catered lunch, time matters. Moving 10 to 100 people through a small area to select their food can take more time than many people realize. To save time, consider a grab-and-go buffet line. Another consideration is seating. Do you want participants to eat at their desks or will seating be provided in a communal area?

Location Considerations

If the catered lunch is served during a meeting, be sure to offer food items that can be eaten without noise or mess. Munching Chinese food with chop sticks may make a mess and crunching through a lunch of tacos can be irritating to a speaker. Extra precautions should also be taken in placing the food table so participants can refill their plates without walking in front of the slides or the speaker. 

As an office manager, you can feed everyone and keep your sanity by falling back on the all-time office favorite. Just ask your associates if there is a popular pizzeria with pepperoni, supreme, and cheeseburger pizza near me, and order pizza and salads for the entire office. There will be smiles all around.