How to Budget for Office Catering

Ordering and organizing meals for the office becomes the job of the office manager or team leader who already has a plate full of action items. Estimating expenses, tracking costs, and negotiating with catering options is enough to overwhelm anyone. The good news is, with a clear catering budget in place, organizing your next team meal doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

If you find yourself with the job of finding a suitable meal option for your next team or client lunch, remember these tips to make creating and sticking to your catering budget hassle-free!

Plan in advance

What’s the trick to pulling off a successful office lunch? Planning it in advance. If you know that there are events, team or client meetings on the calendar for the week or month, make a list of possible menu items, and the projected number of people. Then make a list of the most appropriate food options for that occasion. Once you have a better understanding of what you plan to have and how many you plan to serve, you can get make a list of local corporate caterers or delivery companies and compare quotes based on your needs and budget.

Review Past Expenses

If your office has hosted catered meetings or events in the past, take a look through past receipts or budgets and review the data. Make a list of what you feel worked best for the occasion and size of the previous order. Depending on what your current meeting is about, you can scale up or down from what you’ve spent in the past. When reviewing past data, think about past vendors or caterers. Were there vendors that gave you a great deal or that you would like to work with again? Do you need the same amount of food? How many people were you able to feed with the previous budget? Having this information on file can help you easily assess and justify your budget for your next meeting or event.

Get a headcount

Getting an accurate count of people you need to feed is essential to setting a budget for your meeting or event. With this count, you can determine how many meal options you need to provide, if there are dietary restrictions you need to take into account, and what menu items make the most financial sense, like sandwiches vs plated entrees. Getting an accurate headcount will allow you to easily determine the costs for your meal and what needs will attribute to the quotes you request. These counts are necessary for ensuring the quality of food that you have for the occasion.

Consider the occasion

Are you planning for a workshop, a special meeting, or just a casual team lunch? How healthy should your options be? Is this a casual lunch or will you need tableware and special settings? Always consider the occasion and how messy, clean, fun or your menu should be. The length of time is also a factor when determining how much to order. A 30-minute meeting probably requires fewer items than a lengthy lunch event. Longer meetings could mean larger catering portion sizes of each dish to satisfy attendees.

Having a solid catering budget helps you make the most financially responsible decisions for your office. Start developing your catering budget as soon as you begin to plan your meeting or event, and you’ll be far more likely to achieve delicious success. The Big Box Catering team has meal options for every team lunch, client meeting and corporate event in Dallas and the surrounding areas. From corporate events for large groups to small, office parties, we can cover all of your meal planning needs. Visit our website at to see our full menu or to place an order. To request a quote, contact us at (469) 623-1127.