Looking for ways to engage with your employees as they make their way back into the office? Consider catering lunch to the office.

Incorporating food at work can help boost employee morale and retain top talent.

Check out these proven office lunch catering ideas and see which concepts might work best for your team.

1. Host a Taco Party

Tacos are a tremendous hit. So much so that shredded pork tacos were the second most commonly ordered item on Grubhub last year, while chips and pico de gallo were the top-ordered side dish. Whether it be on a Tuesday or any other day of the week, consider offering your employees a taco-centric spread at lunchtime and it is bound to be popular.

2. Use food to make lunch and learns more appealing

A lunch and learn combines food and education to make the most of your employees’ lunch hours. Management might use this time to get the team up to speed on a new client, discuss an upcoming product launch, or offer professional tips and skill-building opportunities.

With the shorter session times that come with lunch and learns (meetings are typically capped at 30-45 minutes), concentrate on ordering food items that are easy to eat and leave employees free to take notes and participate in discussions.

These lunch and learns aren’t limited to in-office employees, either. Use video conferencing software to include hybrid and remote workers. You can even extend free lunch to work-from-home employees by sending them Grubhub individual meal credits they can use to order food on the company dime.

3. Parking lot picnics

During the summertime, everyone enjoys spending time outside in the fresh air.

Treat your team and increase employee morale along the way by cordoning off a section of your parking lot or reserving the top deck of your company’s parking structure, and host a team or company-wide picnic. If you’re in a city, consider hosting this picnic on a rooftop or in a nearby park. Rent banquet tables, add umbrellas, and get some checkered tablecloths for that true picnic feel.

As for the catering, you can go with an all-American style barbecue and order ribs, chicken, brisket, and tons of classic sides.

Bagged lunches or sandwich and salad platters also work well for a picnic-inspired lunch, as would a buffet of small bites sourced from a variety of restaurants — think Vietnamese spring rolls and banh mi, Southern fried chicken and sweet tea, Italian antipasto salad and calzones.

Don’t forget about dessert. You can offer your employees something simple like cookies or brownies, or pack a cooler and offer popsicles and ice cream, items that are always appreciated in warm weather.

4. Enjoy holiday-themed lunches

Celebrating holidays at work is a great way to build camaraderie and to show your appreciation for employees.

One example could be to host a company-wide Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime a week before the actual holiday. Bring in a caterer who specializes in all of the classics: roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and several kinds of pie.

The same concept works for almost any holiday:

  • Halloween: Have employees “trick or treat” by going from office to office or department to department to pick up candy and office supplies. Lunch can be fall-themed goodies or a simple spread of salads and sandwiches with caramel apples for dessert.
  • National Food Holidays: National Muffin Day? Offer baskets of mini muffins in a variety of flavors during lunch. National spaghetti day? Order Italian delivery from your favorite local pizza and pasta place.
  • Diwali: Celebrate this 5-day festival of lights with catered Indian food.
  • Lunar New Year: Celebrate this holiday by setting up a buffet catered from your favorite local Chinese restaurant.

5. Introduce employees to fun foodie trends

Have an office full of foodies? Add a once-a-month “Foodie Day” to your list of office catering ideas. Attendance should be optional, and those who do show up get to order in from one of the newer, trendier restaurants around town. This gives your employees a chance to try out dishes like poke or sample charcoal ice cream. It’s part education, part networking, part conversation starter, all done within the confines of the company lunch break.

6. Pair flexible scheduling and breakfast for lunch

Remote and hybrid work became a hot topic during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many employees prefer the flexibility that work-from-home scenarios allow. In fact, one recent survey found that 43% of respondents associated flexible working hours with greater productivity.

One option is to turn one day a week into a company-wide half day. Instead of coming in at 9 a.m. on Monday, everyone gets to come in at 1 p.m. Kick-start the afternoon with a catered meal — breakfast for lunch, with French toast, yogurt parfaits, and plenty of fruit.

7. Have one day that’s all about dessert

You don’t necessarily need to cater a full meal when providing meal perks for your employees. Desserts are always a crowd favorite and there are a variety of fun and exciting routes for you to take when treating your office to dessert.

Having post-lunch dessert catered in offers even dedicated DIY lunchers a way to indulge. Have a local bakery bring in strawberry shortcake sundaes (the most popular dessert amongst Grubhub diners in 2021). Order a few boxes of gourmet cookies or specialty donuts.

The idea is a win in two ways. You get to surprise your team with a sweet treat that complements their healthy lunch, and you’ll also be saving money by skipping the fully catered experience one day in favor of a lighter, yet enjoyable food experience that will be memorable.

Bring your lunch catering ideas to life with Grubhub

Cater your next office lunch with Grubhub and see how easy it is to treat your employees while still sticking to your corporate budget. Contact our team to learn more about how a Grubhub Corporate account can work for you!