The idea of ordering lunch for the team sounds easy on the surface, but anyone who’s handled the task knows it’s anything but easy. People have such varied palates! Maria doesn’t like tomatoes (unless they’re part of tomato sauce), Joe won’t eat spicy foods (if they’re really spicy—he doesn’t mind kinda spicy) and Lauren can’t handle anything crunchy. Throw in some dietary restrictions on top of all this and you’ve got yourself a real challenge.
Providing a positive meal experience for your team doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your already busy day. Here are six ways to impress even the pickiest eaters when you order lunch catering:
1. Track employee preferences
Make a note any time you hear of someone’s food issues, so you have a master list when it comes time to order. Consider sending out an email to survey personal preferences and favorite local restaurants. People will appreciate your consideration and the extra effort to make mealtime enjoyable.
2. Find out what is crucial vs. optional
Some picky eaters may not want onions anywhere near their plates, while other people may be fine just removing them from the meal. Knowing where there’s some leeway (as well as the absolutes) can make your job a lot easier.
3. Make sure it’s not a medical issue
There’s a big difference between having taste preferences and having medical problems requiring specialized meals. When in doubt, ask. If you know a “no peanuts” request is due to allergies, you can pay extra attention when placing the order to ensure the meal is safe.
4. Try build-your-own meals
Build-your-own meals can give picky eaters a way to create a plate of food they like. For example, a taco or sandwich bar with all the fixings allows employees to easily put together a customized meal.
5. Consider multiple options
If you have a large enough order, you may be able to split it among different restaurants. For instance, some employees might order from that great new Thai place down the street while others opt for Italian. It may take additional work to do this, but it can ensure everyone is satisfied.
6. Enlist the caterer’s help
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. Make your job easier by turning to the experts for advice. Caterers can take into account known picky eating or dietary restrictions and propose ideas to create a great meal experience.
Yes, it may take some extra effort to accommodate and please the picky eaters on your team, but it will definitely be appreciated! You’re going that extra mile to help people with sensitive palates or dietary restrictions blend in with the group and enjoy a communal meal. Don’t be surprised if this hasn’t happened for them at previous employers—take pride in the significant service you provide to your team!