[This article was written by Rachelle Wilber.]
Any good work party needs to have food. Unfortunately, feeding your employees might be more complicated than you think. Dietary preferences and restrictions are important to respect, but doing so can be difficult if you don’t have the right information. Below are a few methods you can use to accommodate your employees’ dietary preferences at your next party.
Send out a Survey
The first step towards making sure your employees are well-fed at your next event is to send out a quick, anonymous survey. Simply ask if your employees have any preferences about what is served and if they have any dietary restrictions. Keeping things anonymous will allow your employees to express their real opinions and will allow you to gather more valuable data. You might be surprised at the dietary information that you’ll glean from a quick survey.
It never hurts to provide options. While many of your employees may have answered your survey, there will almost always be a few people who are too shy to ‘make a fuss’. Provide a few basic options—gluten free, dairy free, and vegan—so that your employees can choose among the various dishes without having to call attention to themselves. Not only does this help out your employees, but it can add a bit of culinary diversity to your next event.
Discuss with the Caterer
It’s often a good idea to discuss potential dietary restrictions with your caterer. A caterer that has experience in corporate catering services has likely dealt with many of the most common restrictions in the past and can come up with a menu that will satisfy your employees. Making sure to loop in your caterer about restrictions will also give them a better chance to provide alternatives for those employees who have more restricted diets.
One often overlooked tactic to help your employees is to label the food that you have at events. This is especially important if your employees have health or religious reasons to avoid certain foods, as the addition of an unknown ingredient could cause real distress. A placard that states the name of the dish and that lists any allergens is often a great way to help your employees find what they’re able to eat without singling anyone out.
Gathering information and presenting options will usually help you to ensure that all of your employees will be well fed. Don’t be afraid to diversify what you serve and make sure to ask questions when you can. A little bit of extra work before the party can make all the difference to your guests.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700