What’s in a vendor meal?
We are big proponents of providing food to the staff who work your event, such as your coordinator/planner, DJ, videographer and catering service staff. On the day of your party, they would have been providing top-notch (hopefully) service for so many hours, and they will need to eat at some point, too. Vendor meals are a considerate. And some contracts even require hosts to pay for vendor meals.
But what type of food should you offer your vendors? Most caterers will offer two options for vendor meals: a boxed meal or the guest meal (the entrée course of what you are serving your guests).*
Boxed lunches can be great because they are portable and you can instruct your vendors to visit a part of the kitchen in order to pick up their meals. However, it is tough to accommodate possible dietary restrictions and the meal may not be very substantial for a hungry adult who has been working on his feet for several hours.
The other and better choice is offering a guest meal. It’s easier to accommodate dietary restrictions because you would have considered general dietary restrictions when you planned the guest meal. Also, this option is generally more filling than a boxed meal. The best part is that most caterers will offer this meal at a discount.
In our experience, most vendors prefer a guest meal instead of a boxed lunch because it invites them into the event and shows your appreciation of their work. Yes, they are a vendor but on some level the gesture makes them your guest as well.
*Check your contract. If the vendor requires a meal, they may also specify a meal type or certain dietary restrictions.