You can’t really call it a “picnic” without the food! When selecting refreshments, keep in mind that the menu doesn’t have to be complicated in order to be great. You can’t go wrong with a classic all-American menu of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, chips, cookies, lemonade and iced tea. If you want to o er a menu involving something more unique, choosing a “theme” will help pull it all together.
If you are planning to serve alcohol, make sure you understand your location’s permitting parameters. Some parks do not allow alcohol, some only allow 3.2 beer and others require a designated area in which alcohol must be contained. The best practice is to have a TIPS certified bartender onsite. Even if you are serving drinks that don’t require mixing, such as beer and wine, it’s always good to have someone overseeing consumption.
Menu Planning Checklist:
Decide on a theme for the menu.
The easiest way to plan a menu for your company picnic is to decide on a theme. Pig roast or all- American grill? Caribbean cookout or street tacos? Hawaiian luau or classic chuck wagon BBQ?
Beer and wine? Frozen drinks? Water and soda? The main thing to keep in mind when choosing beverages for your company picnic is to have enough variety to accommodate everyone. If you’re going to serve wine, make sure to have at least one red and at least one white. If serving beer, include light and dark brews. If soda is on the menu, include at least three avors and diet, regular, ca einated and non-ca einated options.
Do not forget to ask caterer about beverages or snacks after they leave. When the caterer leaves with the iced tea, lemonade and water dispensers and the guests will be playing for another 2 hours make sure you have iced water bottles and/or sodas available.
Add in some just-for-fun foods.
While you probably want to serve an actual meal at your company picnic, consider adding in some fun indulgences such as cotton candy, Snow Cones, candy bars, ice cream trucks or slashes.
Here are some questions to ask the caterer if these items are important to you:
- Will food be grilled on site or cooked elsewhere and reheated on site?
- Are the sides dishes and desserts made from scratch or bought already made?
- Will the sta stay for the food service, will they stay for the entire picnic (for clean-up)?
- Will catering sta be responsible for venue clean-up and trash removal?
- Are all cold foods displayed with ice to keep them cold?
- Are hot foods kept warm on buffet?
*Food Safety Tip! A good rule of thumb to designate a 2-hour window during which food is available. This allows food to stay fresh and limits waste.
Now that you have an idea of what you want for your picnic add some entertainment that matches the theme of your menu!