Careers Business Ownership How to Plan a Business Conference Lunch Menu Tips for Choosing the Right Corporate Lunch Menu Share PINTEREST Email Print Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images Business Ownership Industries Event Planning Retail Small Business Restauranting Real Estate Nonprofit Organizations Landlords Import/Export Business Freelancing & Consulting Franchises Food & Beverage eBay E-commerce Construction Operations & Success Becoming an Owner By Rob Hard Rob Hard LinkedIn Twitter Western Illinois University DePaul University Rob Hard is a former writer for The Balance SMB. He is a communications professional and an experienced meeting and event planner. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 01/04/20 Setting up lunches is a part of an event coordinator’s duties. There are many different types of lunch events, and coordinators are often tasked with making recommendations appropriate to the event, venue, and number of guests being served. For example, a lunch provided to a working group in a corporate setting will be very different from a "luncheon" provided to donors at a groundbreaking for a new hospital. Here are a few variables to consider: What is the occasion? Is it a formal event, such as a sit-down luncheon served after a morning wedding, or is a simple corporate "grab and go?" Will this be a plated or buffet event? While most lunches are served buffet style, you'll need to consult with your client before making that assumption. How many are being served? If you're serving hundreds (or only a dozen), you'll need to consider appropriate foods, service options, and price points. Where is the event taking place? In some cases, catering occurs at a large venue where the staff and facilities are event-ready. In other cases, lunches may be staged in private homes or unusual settings such as a museum gallery. Common Lunch Event Options A client's needs should always come first, and none of these common options may be ideal for each client. But in most cases, one of these options will be suitable with the right choice of foods and drinks. Deli Buffets The deli buffet is quite popular for a simple event and includes mostly finger foods that are easy to select and can usually please most any crowd—assuming the needs of gluten-free, kosher, and vegetarian guests are accommodated. Most deli buffets include the following: Mixed green salad (include three types of dressing)Fruit salad, potato salad, antipasto and/or chipsThree types of sandwich meats (and multiple healthy breads)Dessert trays such as brownies or cookies Themed American and Ethnic Buffets Most caterers will offer several different themed lunch options for consideration, such as Italian, American, Asian, etc. These options allow the coordinator to incorporate their food selection into the overall theme of an event. For example, popular themes include the following with a variety of appetizers, entree, and dessert options related to any of these and other buffet themes. American: burgers and friesItalian: pasta, pizza, Tuscan style chickenSouthwest: tacos and fajita stationsAsian: spring rolls, stir-fries, rice and noodle dishes Box Lunches Best for working lunches, the box lunch is fast and easy, so that event guests remain focused on the objective of the meeting itself. While sandwiches are the most commonly selected item, wraps might also be an acceptable choice. When selecting box lunches, be sure to offer at least four different varieties for attendees, along with gluten-free breads and desserts): Turkey, roast beef, ham, and vegetarian sandwichesA piece of fresh fruitChips and a cookieCondiments (always on the side), plastic utensils and napkins Build Your Own Lunch Menu Most caterers provide multiple options for "build your own" lunch menus, and these may be served as a buffet or as a plated meal. "Build your own" is most appropriate for a formal event or an event at which the client wants to impress his or her guests. (Note: if plated, plan for a three-course minimum.) These menus typically include the following: Appetizers and salads Lettuce salad options (e.g., Caesar, spinach, mixed greens)Fruit salads (berries, melons, pineapple)Soup (two options minimum) Entrees (popular options) Chicken, pork, beef, or salmonCaesar salad with grilled chickenSides include vegetable, potato, pasta or rice Desserts (popular options) CheesecakeChocolate moussePie with ice cream Beverages Regardless of the type of meal selected, it's important to offer guests a variety of drinks to go along with their meal. With the increased popularity of flavored waters, vitamin waters and energy drinks, event coordinators should request specific brands and flavors of waters in addition to basic bottled water. Most venues can secure these products with a custom request from their suppliers, and should only charge based on consumption. Alcohol is rarely served at a lunch event, though in some cases, it is appropriate and should be included. Other common options include diet and regular soft drinks, assorted bottled juices, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea.