How To Plan Your First Office Catering Budget

Planning an office catering budget for the first time can seem overwhelming, but providing your employees with great food can help improve their morale and make them feel valued in the organization. While there are several factors to consider, the primary goal is to provide good food options within a tight budget. 

Catering budgets have several new challenges in the time of COVID-19. With more people expected to work from home in the coming year, corporates have had to focus on contactless delivery and safe food options for their clients and employees. The good news is that corporate caterers have risen to the occasion with new catering menus, hygienic food options, and an established online presence.

How To Plan Your First Office Catering Budget

It’s all in the details

Develop a comprehensive plan much in advance. Define each element of your plan to arrive at a goal which in turn will determine your budget. Depending on the office mandate, these goals could range from providing healthy meals, breakfast for a power-packed start, or work-from-home lunches. 

List the must-haves on your catering menu – perhaps a choice of protein, salad, and dessert. Make no compromises on these essentials but leave some room for flexibility on other elements.

As elements of your catering menu come together, round it off with a decision on the frequency of meals. Will you provide daily lunches or meals on alternate days? Maybe you’re looking to plan one meal a week such as a Friday special. 

A well-thought-out plan is the key to providing great meals for the office at a price you can afford.

Arrive at the budget

When it comes to the catering budget, find answers to the following questions finalize the estimated costs and maximum amount you can spend.

– Is there a per-meal limit to how much you can spend? 
– How many employees do you have?
– Where does the budget come from? (An overall office fund, a team budget, or a discretionary budget) 

Find your caterer

Identifying caterers that suit your office’s needs is probably the most stressful part of the planning process. You would essentially have to search caterers, interview them, get their quotes, look for reviews online to ensure their food is great, and then finally place an order.

Instead of wasting too much typing looking for the right caterer, consider online catering marketplaces such as CaterCurator that can help simplify the search for you. CaterCurator already shortlists the best caterers in your area and allows you to directly place an order with them in just a few clicks. By handling delivery, logistics, and communication with the vendor, CaterCurator ensures that you are able to get the best food for your team without ignoring your core work responsibilities. 

Here are a few factors you should consider while finalizing the caterer: 
Location: Caterers within a certain radius will have minimal add-on costs like transportation fees
Cuisine and variety: Different caterers have different specialty cuisines that they offer. 
Hygiene: Check whether the caterers follow and publish their health and safety protocols, which has now become more important than ever 
Individually packaged meals: To maintain proper hygiene on your part, especially in the post-pandemic world, its best to pick caterers that offer individually packaged lunches 
Costs: Look for catering menu combinations at different price points. Some caterers might also offer special rates on bulk meals. 

Final Words

Developing an office catering budget for the first time doesn’t have to be stressful. A little collaboration and planning go a long way towards smart budgeting — keeping both your employees and your office’s books of accounts happy.