questionswhat would you want to eat at a company lunch?


How many people are you feeding and whats your budget per person? I was content with the Jersey Mike Subs that were provided for us for breaking a record month a while back. If you get a little more money you can go wrong with tri-tip and chicken from a local bbq place.


A nice easy one is sub sandwiches. You can order the pre-made lunch boxes each with a 6" sub, a cookie, condiments, and a soda for pretty cheap from any of the major sub QSRs (Subway, Cousins, etc) But then again everyone expects that. Try going for some catered Italian if you wanna spend some money but make everyone happy and full!


It will be between 25 and 30 people. Budget is $10 per person including drinks. Planning to just pick up some 2-liters since that's the easiest.


Nothing messy. I hate trying to eat messy food while in the company of co-workers. That means no BBQ ribs or hot wings. Pizza can be pretty messy too. Sub sandwiches are ok as long as the bread doesn't crumble and stuff doesn't fall out all over the place. Whatever you get, be sure there are napkins, plates, and silverware. (disposable is good so nobody has to do dishes) Otherwise, you have to lick your fingers and get crumbs all over the place. Not a good look at the office. I don't know... maybe pasta, Chinese, or Mexican food? (not crunchy tacos)

I hate lunch meetings...let me eat in peace! It's not my fault you didn't get your work done and/or you have poor time management skills that you have to meet over the lunch hour. Why punish me for your shortcomings? Rabble, rabble, rabble!


BW3's/Panda Express do catering.. and are both awesome-on-a-budget-for-work-lunch-meets...

BW3's is obviously more expensive.. but just the same, it will be the talk of the meeting!


whatever you choose, don't give up on your Anything But Pizza mantra! if you hear any complainers you can shush them up with "At least it's not pizza!"
sandwich boxes are good, plus you can get variety. some ham, some veggie, some turkey, salad, cookies, etc. also certain Chick Fil A's deliver. even a Burger King near me started doing deliveries (weird).

kudos to you for trying to keep it interesting!


If there's a local business you can throw the business to, it's usually a good idea. Where I live, $10 a person goes a long way. One of our annual meal-meetings is right across the street from a mom and pop Italian place. They give us an enormous sandwich with either meatballs or ham and veggies, with cups of marinara for pouring over the meatball sandwiches, tossed salad with house Italian or ranch dressing and a bag of chips for $5 per person, no tax as it is a meeting for non-profits. We chip in $6 each and they buy cases of soda and a big tray of cookies from Sam's with the difference. For our office parties, we do a pot luck and the director buys the meat. He buys it frozen and pays the local homeless shelter (we work with them) to prepare it. They do a great job and it helps them out.


Chipotle or Einstein's Bagels are good at filling big orders and boxing them up for you.


We've had success with our local Chick-fil-a providing meals including dessert (and toys!--Grown adults trading cookies & brownies for stuffed cows. We were a sad bunch).

I second the idea of finding a local Mom & Pop restaurant that would LOVE the business. Let them know if it goes over well, they can expect a lot of business from you in the future. We've used little places to cater a taco bar & a Cuban luncheon as well as a "country style boarding house dinner" with fried chicken, biscuits, sides. With enough advance notice, your local grocery store deli might be able to give you fabulous deal on fried chicken.

Panera is good too, but pricier.


if it ain't pizza and it ain't sammiches, the next answer is usually mexican, e.g. burritos or enchiladas.

no1 no1

I was going to add Chick-fil-a, also. But are you in an area that has one? I know there isn't a Chick-fil-a in the upper North. But if you do have access, that's the way to go. I don't know a single soul who doesn't love their strips or nuggets...and they have great desserts!


I've been in your shoes MANY times. I agree with Chick-fil-a, but sub sandwiches works out nice too. If you've got a Lenny's Sub Shop in your area, they do great sandwiches.


Panera Bread (or St. Louis Bread Company if you're from STL where it all started). Downside, you may end up with a couple things that aren't anyone's favorite (same thing at any sandwich place).


We have a number of small restaurants that do various ethnic foods. Our last such lunch was Afghan: kebabs (chicken, lamb and beef tika and chicken and beef kufta), rice and salad. We have also done Columbian, Dominican, Italian (pasta with meat sauce and salad and garlic bread), assorted deli sandwiches and salads, Boston Market (they will cater). We haven't done Chinese in a while since we get into fights over what kind of Chinese to get.

We aim for about $6 per person, though it usually goes higher than that (still under $10 tho) and we are in NY City where everything costs more.


If you work with any vegetarians, do them a favour and don't forget them. I am one of a pretty large number of veggies at my company, and we are still looked over to the point we dread company lunches. Sandwiches are always filled with 14 different kinds of leaf and other crap, everyone else wants to eat the cheese pizza, BBQ basically excludes us. Think I sound like a jerk or snob? Yeah, that's how we feel when we show up to a function and awkwardly don't eat anything.

I'm not ranting just to rant - my point is try variety. Rather than order 400 subs, try getting some sandwich platters along with pasta dishes, bagels, etc. The best team lunches we've done have been "buffet" style pot lucks from a few different places. So everyone can find something they like. I know this is hard because there will be one or two things everyone wants, but it is a tradeoff and has worked well with us.


I was going to recommend burritos from whatever chain is nearby you. Sandwiches are also good, particularly if you're able to let people order what they want (otherwise the person who's late always end up with the ham...never fun). If you've got a Jason's Deli near you, they do a nice box lunch. Subway's sandwich platters are pretty good too (at least in a "it's not pizza" way).


@gt0163c: Ham being so closely related to Bacon... means its the PRIME choice! I would love to get stuck with the Ham!


What city do you live in? I'm a manager for a food delivery service that has about 8 to 10 locations in the US and growing.

We do catering for offices all the time and $10 per person can get a lot. Applebees, Chilis, Olive Garden, Friday's, Outback, etc. all have great options for catering services, and if you're in one of our cities, we could deliver it to you for just $3.99.

We can even label each person's "meal" with their name if you needed it to be that specific.

If not in one of our cities, there is probably a similar service offered that you could use in your city.

There are, however, many options available as you can see, and $10 a person can get you a lot.


If you have a Costco nearby, a tray of roll sandwiches, a caesar salad platter and if the budget allows, a shrimp cocktail tray (all in the deli section). You'll save some $$ by doing it this way. IF you need to also get a dessert, a tray of cookies or brownies. For 20 people, you'll spend about $60 or less with all the food mentioned above. Drinks...we'll you're at Costco, get a flat of bottled water or a variety pack of drinks. So, the whole shebang, $75 bucks for 20 people ($3.75 per person -- not bad)


Working lunch sandwich.
Company sponsored get together lunch, tacos bar.Grilled burgers in the parking lot.


KFC caters as well....not sure about price though.


@caffeine_dude: We've also done a pot luck which always turns out to be a lot of fun even though we've each had to bring something.
The business provides the meat (like a Honeybaked ham for instance) and a sign up sheet on the breakroom door allows people to sign up to bring all sorts of great sides & desserts to share. Having a sign up sheet also keeps us from having 7 bags of chips (bachelor cooks) or nothing but cookies.
After a few successful pot lucks, several of us began bringing copies of whatever recipe we used to make our dishes, especially if we did a "Bring your ethnic heritage to the table" meal. We had cuisines from all over the world. Pansit, lumpia, arroz con pollo, baklava, vetekrans, kugelis...


Another vote for Panera. Or Jimmy Johns. Both have enough variety for a group.


@meh3884: I was coming here to say exactly that.

Large company lunches here are always ham or turkey sandwiches with no veggies, so I end up eating bread and cheese with people staring as I pull off the turkey or ham. Small company lunches often end up with "we ordered you a chicken Caesar salad." Thanks.

I have a friend here at work with a severe gluten allergy. Company lunches end up very disappointing for him too.

Please don't forget the vegetarians and others with dietary restrictions!


@sunnyx0r: I have the opposite problem. I hate lunches that consist of subs and salads because I'm a meat and potato kind of gal. Plus, I hate the smell, with all the different condiments/dressings squirted on them. I have to stand as far out of the way as I can while others eat or I'll gag. LOL


If you want to please the most possible people, DO NOT ORDER PRE-MADE SANDWICHES. There will always be someone unhappy because the sandwiches already have mayo on them and they don't like mayo, or they don't want to have to start picking off other things they don't like. Hell, in my case I'm so severely allergic to olives that I won't risk eating anything that an olive has touched, so I can't evne pick them off a sandwich.

Find a local deli that can provide trays of sandwich meats and fixings so people can make their own. This way you get a selection of meats, a selection of cheeses, a selection of breads, and everyone can have a sandwich exactly as they like it.

If need dessert too, get a sheet cake from Costco and a couple half-gallons of their ice cream, that'll run you just over $30 and it's good cake and good ice cream.


@elforman THat's funny, normally I'm the guy to complain because I don't like tomatoes or mustard.

I would 100% go for Panara Bread but we don't have any in Idaho. WE did just get a Chik-fil-a about a year ago, but it's on the BSU campus and I don't want to have to deal with that mess.

I think I'm going to go with Fudruckers. We have one 1/3 mile away, that will bring a grill out and grill everything up fresh. With cheese, all the fixings, salad and a potato salad it comes to $8.75 / person.

Thank you for the advice on vegetarians, I was pretty sure we were all meat eaters but it made me look good actually asking to make sure I didn't rule anyone out. We do not have any in our office. The only dietary restrictions are 1 lactose intolerant and a couple shellfish allergies (me included in this category).

This allows everyone to build their lunch to there preference w/o having the pre-made issues.


@bogie21: That sounds like a really good idea. Now I wish we had one here!


@bogie21: Good choice on Fuds. If they are going to make them fresh and bring their condiments, et al, that will keep everybody happy. Wish I could be there.