If you’ve ever been tasked with ordering lunch for the office, you know it’s not as simple as it may seem. Ordering food for large groups requires you to strike a balance between variety, taste and dietary needs while also making sure you don’t overlook important details like utensils and extras like sauces and drinks.
There’s a lot to think about, but once you learn a few essential tips and tricks, placing your next order will be a breeze. These five simple guidelines will help make your next group lunch an overwhelming success and leave you looking like the office hero. Need even more help? Check out our admin’s guide to ordering food for the office for additional tips.
1. Consider all dietary preferences
From dietary restrictions and food allergies to personal preferences, there are many things to consider when choosing your menu. To avoid any mishaps, find out whether the people you’re ordering for have any food sensitivities or allergies. You may be surprised by what you learn. According to recent research, more than 26 million American adults have a food allergy, and as many as 30% of Americans try to avoid gluten.
Consider collecting dietary information as part of the employee onboarding process and keeping a master list so you can easily share this information with your caterer. When deciding where to order lunch for office events, you may need to consider whether the restaurant or caterer offers appealing vegan or vegetarian meal choices and if they’re able to accommodate employees who are gluten-free, nut-free, or have other restrictions.
2. Make sure you have all the extras
Successfully ordering food delivery for office events is about more than just the menu. Don’t forget the essentials like plates, utensils, napkins and condiments. Depending on the meal, you might also need sauces, dips and a variety of drinks.
While some types of meals, like boxed lunches, come with everything you need, other options may require you to plan ahead. When you’re organizing your order, think about each part of the meal from appetizers to desserts, so you can make sure you’re fully equipped to serve it all.
In many cases, your caterer can provide you with the extras you need, but you may have to ask. If you’re depending on the caterer, confirm everything is there before your delivery driver leaves.
3. Prioritize local restaurants that prepare seasonal foods
When deciding where to order lunch for the office, consider local restaurants or caterers that offer seasonal menu items. Fresh food that’s in season tastes better and is often healthier. A seasonal menu naturally creates variety and can bring some excitement to the table.
Ordering locally sourced, seasonal foods also benefits your community in many ways. Not only does it support local farmers and producers, but it boosts the overall local economy and promotes sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance food transportation.
4. Think about temperature control
When it comes to food delivery for the office, temperature matters. Nobody wants a warm, soggy salad or a lukewarm cup of soup. Not only is this unappealing, but foods not kept at the optimal temperature can potentially create health issues.
When planning out your order, think about how you’re going to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. If you’re setting up a buffet-style meal, use chafing dishes and sternos to keep the food warm while putting cold items on ice. Many caterers and restaurants offer specialized packaging to maintain food temperatures, so ask about your options and take advantage of what’s available.
If you’re planning an event that’s likely to last several hours, you can avoid the stress of temperature control by choosing foods that can be served at room temperature. This may include options such as charcuterie boards, deli sandwiches with packaged condiments or baked goods.
5. Always include a tip
When ordering lunch for the office, it’s important to understand the difference between the delivery fee and the tip. Typically, the delivery fee goes directly to the restaurant or caterer to cover expenses like the cost of gas and insurance. A tip is a separate amount given to the delivery driver to show your appreciation for his or her services, similar to the tip you would give to a restaurant server.
While there are no set rules for tipping your delivery driver, generally, a tip of 10% is standard for orders of $100 or more and 15% to 20% for orders of $50 or less. However, many people agree that the minimum tip for a delivery driver should be $5, even for a small order.
Since many delivery drivers depend on tips as a significant part of their income, poor tipping is considered poor etiquette. Not only is tipping appropriately the right thing to do, but it can also help ensure you get the best possible service. If you’re going to be ordering lunch for the office with any frequency, taking good care of your delivery drivers is an absolute must.
Mastering the art of office lunch orders
Creating the perfect office lunch order requires a combination of careful planning, creativity and attention to detail. While it’s not always an easy assignment, with these simple tips, you’ll be ready to shine.
The next time you’re tasked with ordering lunch for the office, keep in mind that ezCater is the go-to platform for office food delivery. With an extensive range of options for a wide variety of dietary needs, you’ll find something everyone will love. Visit ezCater today and let us help you make your next office meal a resounding success!