When it comes to planning breakfast catering for the office, it can be a bit…exhausting. Especially when expectations climb and your inbox jams up with keto requests. So we checked in with Jeannette Vivas, who puts together breakfasts for our 450-plus employees every week like it’s no biggie. She shares some tips below on how to order breakfast catering for work so that it’s easy, delicious, and even impresses some head honchos.
1. Who’s having breakfast?
It all starts with the budget and the size of the guest list. Knowing these figures can help you be clear-eyed about what you can afford. Some Insta-worthy breakfast items (ahem, gorgeous grain bowls) simply won’t work for small budgets and huge company or sales events. To keep costs down, stick with breakfast buffets and catering platters. You can also save money by ordering no more than two proteins and two sides, says Jeannette. Because if you put out a smorgasbord of sizzling meats, the crowd may long to try everything.
2. What’s the event for?
Catering leaves an impression. So think about the tone you want to set and use your best judgment to figure out the best way to go. Ask yourself: Are you trying to wow clients? Is this a working meeting and could certain foods get in the way? Or is the point for people to have a good time? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Formal, high-stakes meetings
- Think twice about delicious but sloppy foods. It’s hard to have a meeting when people are worried about making a mess. For formal meetings, steer clear of messy, complicated foods like scrambled eggs. Instead, go for options like baked goods and coffee.
- Find the “sweet spot” between too much and too little food. Stressful meetings can cause people to lose their appetites. On the flip side, you never want to run out of food during high-stakes meetings. So make sure you order enough food, but be prepared for leftovers.
- Choose dishes great at room temperature. Some foods don’t look so hot after sitting out for hours—like breakfast tacos and smoothies. If your office isn’t having breakfast on the dot, it’s better to go for something like savory ham and cheese croissants and jammy pastries.
- Surprise them with lunch. If a morning meeting will run through lunch, it’s nice to get a satisfying meal for the group, says Jeannette. If you suspect people prefer going solo after being locked in a meeting, order portable box lunches to give them that pleasure.
- Use food to lift the mood. If the goal is to get social or boost morale at your office, Jeannette suggests creating a menu around casual catering formats like breakfast bars. It’s a zillion times easier to be chatty with strangers when everyone is making waffle creations together.
- Order bigger portions for social events. When people are having fun, food tends to vanish. Order extra food to make sure people get their fill.
- Go for portable bites. If your staff will be balancing paper plates on their laps, we recommend handheld foods. Try bagels, wraps, or breakfast boxes.
3. How to order breakfast catering for dietary needs
Don’t worry when those dietary requests start coming. You know the ones: paleo, keto, and whatnots. Here’s how to pull off a breakfast catering order for special diets:
- Don’t MacGyver it at the last minute. Ask guests about their food allergies and special diets in advance.
- Get a few dishes that everyone can eat. Always order at least one gluten-free and one vegetarian dish, just in case. Customizable grain bowls and breakfast tacos check both those boxes (and more). Build out your menu from there.
- Order extra portions of gluten-free and vegetarian dishes. Just in case meat eaters get in there first.
- Communicate. Always give the caterer a heads-up about food allergies and dietary requests. ezCater makes it easy to do this with the “Special Instructions” field that appears when you select a menu item.
Pro tip: To save time, Jeannette uses the instant messaging software Slack to pin down confirmations and sort out dietary requests. She has our team using emojis to communicate our preferences (bread equals “gluten-free,” thumbs up means “I’m all-in”). Then Slack tallies the results.
4. What are they craving?
If someone else is hosting the meeting, give them a chance to grab the wheel and pick the cuisine. If you have free rein, think about what will best represent your company’s event. If your office is free-spirited, doughnut breakfast sandwiches might call out to you. But that’s maybe not the best idea if you’re trying to impress a multinational corporation. Go for pretty, globally inspired breakfast boxes instead.
5. Don’t forget drinks
6. Create fail-safes around your catering order
Always think about the little things when you order breakfast catering:
- Filter your search by distance to find restaurants near your office if traffic or parking is difficult in your area, says Jeannette.
- Set an earlier delivery time to be safe, though do be prepared to receive an early delivery.
- Anticipate problems—like street parking, building security, or a slow freight elevator—and let the caterer know about potential issues. If you’re using ezCater, the “Delivery Instructions” field is the perfect place to do this.
- Lean on ezCater’s 5-star customer service team to make sure your catering order is delicious and arrives smoothly.
Got a morning meeting on your hands?