It’s no secret that having a meal with your colleagues goes a long way toward building better work relationships within the workplace. Additionally, if you’re having an important meeting that extends over the regular lunchtime, it’s simply a common courtesy to include a meal when creating your agenda.
Fortunately, there are many options you can resort to when planning lunch as part of your brainstorming session or weekly or monthly meeting. Whether you’re planning a full meal or simply offering a variety of healthy vegan snacks that will suit all dietary preferences, a few simple tips will ensure that the meal goes down without a hitch.
Work Lunches are Easier Than You Think
For the most part, many people avoid the stress of planning a corporate lunch by simply having their meeting in a restaurant. This is ideal if there are only a few of you. However, it might not work so well if there is a large group or if you need an office space because you need to make a presentation. This means you’ll have to cater in the office.
If you’re planning a corporate lunch for the first time, our experts have compiled some tips that will take the stress out of creating the perfect get-together.
- Assess Your Budget
Before you start any planning, establish what budget you have to work with. Most employers will work on a specified amount per person. Or, if you’re given a set amount, simply divide it by the number of people that will be attending. Keep in mind that you’ll need to cover something to eat AND drink (such as tea, coffee, juice or bottled water).
- Keep it Simple
Keep in mind that you are at work and simplicity is key. Don’t opt for heavy, spicy meals as most people prefer a light lunch, especially if they’re going back to work afterwards.
Simple meals are also easier to eat in front of other people in a short amount of time. Another benefit of simple meals is that they’re easy to serve and clean up after.
- Consider Dietary Restrictions
One of the aspects that make work lunches challenging is that everyone doesn’t eat the same types of food. Keep in mind that some people have special diets for health or religious reasons and may not eat the same types of meat that you do. Some of your guests may be vegetarian and wouldn’t appreciate a plate of steak and chips.
Send out an email or message to everyone attending, asking about their dietary restrictions and what they would prefer to eat. This is essential if you’re planning one type of meal for everyone. Then shop around for options that will align with everyone’s preferences. It may be tricky, but at least you know you won’t offend anyone with your menu.
- If in Doubt, Outsource
If you’re a champion cook with some time on your hands, you might consider cooking a meal on the morning of the meeting. Otherwise, outsource the task to a local catering company.
Many catering companies or meal delivery services have corporate hampers or special menus that can be customised to suit everyone’s dietary requirements. Review menu options listed on their websites to determine cost and variety.
Opting for platters is a simple, yet effective way to provide for a variety of food preferences. For example, opt for a mixture of vegan snacks, meaty treats and sandwiches and then add two or three salad options to make a full meal.
- Remember the Sundries
Whether preparing meals or ordering out, it’s a good idea to buy a few sundries:
- Extra knives, forks, spoons and serviettes will come in handy.
- Remember to place a bin in the eating area for everyone to easily dispose of paper plates, used serviettes and empty paper cups.
- Arrange for an assistant to tidy up after lunch if the meal takes place in the office space. This will make it easy to carry on with the meeting.
- Be sure to place bottled water and breath mints on the table.
- Include Snacks
If the meeting you’re planning is going to run for the whole day, it’s a good idea to include some simple snacks for tea breaks. This is also considered a courtesy if people are travelling early or far to attend the meeting. Muffins and biscuits or light sandwiches work well with morning tea.
Be sure to have water and juice options on hand for anyone who may be feeling thirsty. These simple tricks will ensure that no one suffers from low blood sugar and battle to concentrate while they wait for lunch.
Whether you’re planning a small lunch for three employees or twenty execs using your board room for the day, planning lunch doesn’t have to be a nightmare. The trick is to take a methodical, organised approach to the whole process. Your colleagues will appreciate the effort and the meeting will be much more efficient!