Boxed lunch catering: How can I create a picnic-like atmosphere at the office?
When it comes to catered lunches, getting everyone to agree on the same type of food can be a challenge. Boxed lunch catering lets people choose what they want while keeping things fast and convenient.
Ordering is typically simple and efficient, and you can quickly distribute each individually packed meal instead of providing self-serve platters or having everyone wait in line for catering service employees to dish out their meal.
What types of food come in boxed lunches?
Box lunch options vary by locale and restaurant. You might find anything from a classic lettuce and tomato salad with Italian dressing to savory chicken pasta with basil pesto sauce. Here are some common corporate catering menu items a boxed lunch might include.
- Sandwiches and subs: Satisfying sandwiches are always a good choice when it comes to catered box lunches. Catering companies offer multiple options for proteins, including chicken, turkey, and roast beef. You can also often specify a cheese type, sandwich toppings such as tomato or red pepper, and the type of bread in your catering order, making customization easy.
- Unique flavors: Restaurants specializing in specific types of food, such as pasta or curries, offer a taste of other cultures. You might find Mexican, Cajun, Greek, or Italian catering options packaged for delivery in individual portions.
- BBQ boxes: Indulge in the tasty, tangy flavors of fresh barbecue with individual BBQ boxes. Each person picks their favorite meats and sides, so there's no conflict between fans of pork ribs and brisket lovers. Some BBQ delivery services might include options such as barbecue chicken sandwiches or burgers.
- Foods for dietary concerns: If someone at your event has specific dietary restrictions, a customized box lunch might be an option. Gluten-free meals, low-calorie lunches, and vegetarian alternatives may be available.
What side options come with boxed lunches?
Side items vary depending on where you order your box lunch. Sandwich lunch boxes often include potato chips and a side salad, while a Greek box might come with a lunch salad featuring homemade croutons, red onion, Parmesan cheese, kale, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
A Mexican catering company may provide tortilla chips and salsa, sliced avocado, or soft flour tortillas as a side item. BBQ restaurants often include Southern-style sides such as mashed potatoes with a green onion garnish, green beans, potato salad, or macaroni and cheese. Some box lunches also come with an individually wrapped chocolate chip cookie or brownie for dessert.
What are some best practices for ordering box lunches?
Box lunch catering is hassle-free because there's no need to order main dishes or sides in bulk. Here are a few things to consider when ordering prepackaged lunches.
- Check whether the catering company provides plasticware, napkins, and condiments such as mayo and ketchup.
- Prepare for cleanup by stocking plenty of trash cans and recycling bins for employees to deposit empty boxes, food waste, and plastic utensils after eating. Box lunches often generate more trash and recyclables than bulk catering because each person's meal is individually wrapped.
Where did lunch boxes come from?
Box lunches might seem modern, but workers have been enjoying individually packaged meals for centuries. As far back as the 12th century, Japanese farmers prepared bento boxes to bring into the fields, and workers in various cultures brought simple foods, such as cheese and bread, to work in tins or pails. Eventually, restaurants began to provide individually portioned, ready-to-eat options, such as chicken sandwiches, for pickup or catering.
Commercial lunch boxes were first marketed to working-class adults in the early 20th century as a way to carry home-prepared meals. Workers' children often emulated their parents, bringing a box to school, and manufacturers began to create brightly colored and decorated reusable boxes to meet the aesthetic preferences of children.
Self-service restaurants providing individually packaged meals for pickup or delivery also came into existence during the early 20th century, giving workers a way to quickly acquire a small lunch without having to prepare it at home. Modern office workers and event participants have it much easier. Now, caterers deliver delicious prepared meals in disposable boxes directly to your business.