Meals

5 Catered Lunch Ideas Your Team Will Devour

Learn how to feed your team and give them time to reset.

5 min read
2022-10-20
people enjoying a team lunch

Lunch breaks may seem like a relic of the past, but when employees take a break during the workday, the outcomes can be rewarding for your employees and your company

Check out these five catered ideas to make lunch a staple of your culture.

Why a team lunch is important for your company

Hustle culture. Rise and grind. Workaholic. No matter what you call it, it all amounts to the same thing: work all day and all night in pursuit of your professional goals, even if that blurs the lines between life and work. 

Many remote workers subscribed to this lifestyle over the past two years, where work took priority over family, hobbies, and even the little things like a lunch break. 

But as work returns to somewhat normal and people shed these bad habits, you will want to help employees reclaim some work-life balance, starting with a regular lunch. 

A recent survey found that nearly 90% of employees felt refreshed and reenergized after taking a break during the workday. Moreover, more than 9 in 10 employees feel happier when they can step away from work for an hour. 

This isn't just good for employees, either; it's also good for business. The same survey found an overwhelming majority of employees had greater job satisfaction when their company encouraged lunch breaks. 

Clearly, there is a lot to gain from giving employees a lunch break. 

So how do you get started? You have many options. One is to make lunch a team event where you cater food for your employees. That would elicit the benefits of greater productivity and job satisfaction while also kindling team camaraderie and culture. 

Here are some catered lunch ideas to bring your team lunch to life. 

5 catered lunch ideas for every occasion

1. Celebrate the holidays with a buffet

With the holidays upon us, you may be stressed about all there is to do in the next few months. You may want to plan a team celebration — remember this might be employees' first in-person team event in a few years, so you’ll want to make it memorable. You may want to organize a gift exchange. And with any in-person event you plan, you'll need to order food. 

One way to feed your team during the holidays is to order a family-style buffet. Buffets can feed a large number of employees with varying tastes and appetites, so your team can choose what and how much they eat. 

When catering a buffet for the holidays, make sure the meal aligns with the specific celebration. For Thanksgiving, for example, find a caterer who specializes in turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and all the Thanksgiving favorites. 

Other holidays you can celebrate with a buffet include:

  • Diwali (Oct 24): Consider meals like butter chicken or saag paneer

  • Hanukkah (Dec 18 - Dec 26): Consider meals like latkes and brisket

  • Christmas (Dec 25): Consider meals like ham and mashed potatoes

2. Let your team assemble their own meals

Catering a team meal doesn't always have to coincide with the holidays. You can bring in food at any time of year to express gratitude for your team's hard work. 

In these situations, consider an alternative to a buffet. Buffets work well when they align with a theme or holiday but guessing what dishes to order on a random Wednesday can be tricky. You often don't know what everyone likes or wants that particular day. 

In these situations, try catering a build-your-own bowl station. That way, your employees can pick and choose all the ingredients that go into their lunch. 

Bowls are a standard DIY-type catering option, but you can get the same outcome with something like a Taco Bar. Catering a taco bar is easy, too. Just open the DoorDash App and find Mexican in the cuisine tag. From here, you can find a restaurant where you can place Group Orders — everyone places individual orders on one account— or one that offers a traditional catering option — such as trays of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and tortillas. 

No matter which option you land on, your employees will be able to create the tacos or bowl they enjoy most. 

3. Turn the conference room into a juice bar

It's not uncommon to overindulge over the holidays. Whether it's a turkey on Thanksgiving or a decadent cake on Christmas, you can't escape the seemingly endless calories. 

Instead of feeding into this behavior, consider a healthy and delicious alternative: a juice or smoothie bar. Juices and smoothies are great for everyday lunches. Your team can grab them on the go, enjoy them at their desk, or sip on one during a walk with a colleague. 

And if smoothies don't exactly sound like a filling meal, try pairing them with an acai bowl or a wrap. 

4. Try a box lunch as an easy way to feed your team

This wouldn't be a list of catering ideas without mentioning a sandwich spread. It's what most people associate with corporate catering — an array of turkey and ham sandwiches, salads, and chips spread across a conference room table for everyone to pick over. 

However, if the past few years have made you conscious of germs, the traditional sandwich spread may no longer be the best choice. After all, you don't want countless people hovering and fumbling over the same sandwiches. 

The good news is you don't have to abandon sandwiches altogether. Instead, try providing individual box lunches. A box lunch can be great for team meetings when time is of the essence. You get everything you would from your traditional catering, just in a neatly packed box. 

That way, your team can enjoy a quick lunch of a sandwich, salad, and chips while maintaining the same health and wellness precautions we're now used to. 

5. Cap off your team lunch with dessert

Dessert stomach may sound like an excuse to eat something sweet, but some scientific research suggests there is a reason why you always have room for dessert. 

So if you're looking to truly feed your team, remember dessert. Your options here are endless. You can't go wrong with cookies, cakes, or donuts. But if you want to leave your team with a sweet taste, consider a sundae bar. 

A sundae bar will come together a lot like your build-your-own bowl catering. Find a place that caters the ice cream and the fix-ins, and then your team creates a dessert that's right for them. 

Unlike some other solutions, this is the most flexible catering option. You can serve dessert at any time of day, to any number of people, and for every occasion. 

Bring your lunch catering ideas to life with DoorDash for Business

Catering your next team lunch is easy with DoorDash for Business. We provide several options to help you feed your team and give them a much-needed lunch break. 

With Expensed Meals, give your team an individual budget to order DoorDash anytime and anywhere they work. This works well for department lunches or team meetings where you don't necessarily need a sumptuous spread or buffet but rather an individual meal or box lunch. 

Set Expensed Meals as a one-time or recurring budget to encourage your team to unwind for lunch. 

The other option is Group Orders — a flexible solution to order food for team meetings, group events, or company celebrations. All you have to do is choose a restaurant and share the link with your team. Your employees can then select what they want while you maintain control over the costs. 

The best part: your employees' individual meals are delivered in one delivery, so you can enjoy your group order together, without having to worry about scattered delivery schedules or overspending. 

With these catered lunch ideas and DoorDash for Business, your employees will never skip a meal again.