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easy office meals

So my boss has tasked me with showing some appreciation for my employees by having a face to face meeting and feeding them. My budget is - gat a load of this - $5.00 per head!

Any thoughts or suggestions for easy meals or snacks to serve in an office environment?

I'm stumped, beyond coffee and making cookies I can't think of anything creative.

Any of you smart people out there have any ideas?

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    1. re: DBinNOLA

      call around to some local pizza places, you would be suprised how far $5 will get you. If you can negotiate to $6-$7 for a large cheese, that should feed 2-3 people depending on size/appetite. They will also most likely provide you with plates and napkins. You should have plenty of mony leftover for soda and maybe even some dessert platters.

    2. $5.00 per head sounds like a reasonable pizza-lunch budget. I have never worked anywhere that pizza was not appreciated.

      Asian delivery food would be another option. Depending on restaurant availability in your area, that can often go a long way on $5.00 per head.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Diana_mn

        I'll second Asian delivery. We used to host monthly meetings at my last job, and Chinese food for lunch was always a nice break. Check with the restaurants - a lot will offer catering-sized trays of their dishes for less than the same amount of food ordered a la carte.

        Also, check with any other cheap lunch spots near the office. Most will offer a volume discount. In general, it's cheaper to do trays of food to serve buffet style than to order a plate/box of food for each person separately.

        Bagels and a selection of spreads/toppings would work as well. I don't know about food prices where you are, but I can get 13 bagels for $6. Assuming 1 bagel/person, that leaves a lot of money for drinks, toppings, and extras.

      2. Subway and Quiznos can do it for that price.

        1. I've had great success with Costco sandwich platters, a large bag of chips and/or vegetable platter, and bottled water. Not exactly gourmet, but quite utilitarian and better than fast food.

          1. thanks for ideas everyone.

            I was hoping for something a bit different... I do like the costco sandwich platter idea although I'm not sure they have that in Canada?

            keep the ideas coming, I'm determined to make this event something out of the oridinary.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lyndak

              Have you checked any of your local delis? I just recently had to cater a week-long set of office meetings where I had to bring food in for 40 people every day.

              The killer day ended up being a local Middle Eastern restaurant that no one had ever bothered to try before; they brought us falafel, shawarma, and chicken pitas with a side of hummus and baba ghanouj and I was shocked when the total price was $5.50 a person.

              You never know until you ask!

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Oh yes! I forgot about Middle Eastern restaurants. We did that once for two day meeting. There was so much food leftover from day one, we ended up cutting the day two order in half, and I took home a decent size container of shawarma for myself.

            2. The economies of scale could be to your advantage....is this for 5 people? 50? 500? Might give an idea of what's possible for $5 per head.

              If DIY seems like it would work in your office culture. (e.g. it's a relatively small work group)....

              My office has done a "sundae bar" for us.....ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbets, a huge array of different toppings. Not a meal, but a fun treat.

              If you're a more health-conscious work environment- pull together the makings for fruit and yogurt parfaits, including lots of diced/sliced fresh fruits, interesting granolas, nuts, etc. Can acutally be a breakfast., along with coffee and maybe some hard-boiled eggs.

              With anything involving DIY, presentation makes a huge difference. Suggestions:
              -Set-up so that there is a steady, easy flow of "traffic"
              -Nice bowls
              -Pretty labels
              -Separate spoons or forks for everything
              -Platters that group together by color (e.g. strawberries/cherries/ raspberries, blueberries/blackberries, kiwi/green grapes, etc.) .....or you can group by "texture (e.g."the crunchies", "the sauces", etc.).

              Good luck!

              1 Reply
              1. re: 4Snisl

                awesome!!!! the sundae bar idea is exactly what I'm looking for. It's different but everyone is sure to like it!

                I'm going to scope out pricing, it's for 20 people so I certainly should be able to pick up all sorts of goodies for $100.00

                the excitement is overwhelming, when am I ever going to be able to buy $100.00 worth of ice cream? everyone pray for leftovers ;)

              2. We have had a sundae party at work and it was delicious however the ice cream got kind of melty and over- liquified by the time everyone got around to getting some (like me, unfortunately). Another idea would be a taco party if you wanted something more savory. Everyone could add the ingredients they want and build their own. Could be kind of messy but then again so are sundaes (sprinkles everywhere, etc.) and you can get stuff for a ton of tacos on the cheap.

                1. for 20 people/$100 I think your options are going to be very, very limited and probably already mentioned