How to cater more inclusive employee lunches

How to cater more inclusive employee lunches

Years ago almost all employees were omnivores, and therefore companies didn’t have to think much when planning group lunches and outings. Today, however, not only have the number of vegetarians increased, but we now also have vegans, gluten-free, soy-free and other dietary restrictions.

As someone who eats a mostly vegan plant-based diet, I know first hand the frustrations of feeling left out when the group lunch arrives and almost everything is catered to my omnivore co-workers.

Ordering for a big group is always hard, but there are ways we can make it easier to have more inclusive employee lunches. The following are just some of the many ways to make company lunches enjoyable for everyone.

  1. Set up sandwich and salad buffets instead of their pre-made counterparts

    Sandwiches and salads are probably at the top of the list when it comes to employee lunches. Instead of ordering pre-made sandwiches and salads, some restaurants and cafes will allow you to order spreads. With a spread, sandwich and salad ingredients are delivered separately. Employees can then pick and choose their fixings and build their own salads and sandwiches. A win-win for everyone.

  2. Have a potluck lunch and assign dietary dishes

    Having a potluck lunch is a great way to get everyone involved in preparing the group lunch. With a potluck you can also assign employees certain dietary dishes like vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free, which ensures that there will be something for everyone to eat.

  3. Order from a vegan restaurant

    Vegans and vegetarians cannot eat everything that omnivores eat. However, omnivores can almost always eat everything that vegans and vegetarians eat. With that said, vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants are on the rise. Why not order from or dine at one of these for your next event?

  4. Explore cuisines that have flavorful options

    American cuisine tends to be meat and dairy heavy. There are cuisines like Indian and Mediterranean, however, that typically have a higher number of vegan and vegetarian options in addition to omnivore options. The next time you are planning a lunch, try one of these latter cuisines and you will have a meal that is not only extremely tasty, but one that caters to everyone’s dietary restrictions.

  5. Order from a catering company

    When preparing to order food for a company event, restaurants are usually the first thing that comes to mind. Another option to consider, however are catering companies. Catering businesses are better equipped to create a menu that will satisfy everyone. While you might be able to customize a restaurant’s already set menu, most catering businesses can work with you to design a menu from scratch.