Catered office lunch
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

What Does the Catered Office Lunch Look Like Now?

CONTRIBUTING CHEFS: MATT JOST / HEATH SCHECTER / OONA SETTEMBRE
Drawing of knife

Catered office meals are still viable, but they’re going to look different now.

No more help-yourself spreads where everyone digs into trays or large platters where eaters hover around before reaching in. How do onsite cafeterias and caterers address the change?

From kitchen to conference room, here’s what our Crave Makers had to say on how you can make lunch fun–and safe–as workers and lunch time return to the office.
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Make It Personalized

Moving away from the grab-what-you-want platter approach, one of the best ways to keep everyone safe and satisfied is with individually packaged meals.

Order ahead - When everyone is able to place their order ahead of time, they’ll know they’re getting what they want and be able to make any modifications they need.

Put names on it - It’s a special little feeling to see something made just for you, and this will also help reduce the hovering around while the food is distributed.

Clearly label contents - This will eliminate the need to unwrap the food to discover what’s inside.

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Make It Surprising

Another way you can kick up the experience is by playing with various flavors and textures they won’t be expecting, like a curry kit.

With strong flavors, hot rice and protein (consider a plant-based option) and cold raitas and chutneys, it’s a departure from the standard fare everyone is used to seeing at an office lunch.

Raitas and chutneys
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Make It DIY

Even without the awe-factor of a sprawling lunch spread, you can still make it a fun and engaging time by having everyone participate in creating their own meal.

To do this, give each person a personalized meal kit with all the ingredients individually wrapped and let them assemble it just the way they like it. Try a lettuce wrap kit and include proteins, cheeses, veggies, sauces and more.

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Make It Fun & Functional

While packaging needs to be functional, don’t overlook it as part of the experience. There are lots of fun options that add an extra layer of intrigue.

If you’re creating a flavor experience with a curry kit, try using a tiffin tin to make the unpacking and assembly even more interesting. Bento boxes are another option that are fun to unpack while also being practical and easy to ship.

Be sure to use eco-friendly options like bamboo or even consider a rinse and return option your team can pick up after the meeting to wash back at the restaurant.

Bento box
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A catered lunch is going to look a lot different than it did before, but by moving towards individual packaging and giving thought to how the food is experienced, your catered lunches will take care of everyone’s mid-day cravings.

Check out more from our Crave Makers