6 Tips for a Modern Company Picnic: From Corporate Catering to Inclusive Invitations

Posted by on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 with 3 Comments

Company picnics may be a long-standing tradition, but they don’t have to be old-fashioned. Saying thank you and showing appreciation to your staff never goes out of style, and gathering your entire staff together for a day of celebration can have a huge impact on the way your employees — and their families — view the workplace.

Of course, simply hosting a potluck at the local park may not send the message you wish to communicate. From interactive games to corporate catering, here are our six tips for a modern company picnic — if done right, one that will leave your employees feeling appreciated and rejuvenated for the rest of the summer!

company picnic

The company picnic doesn’t have to be outdated!
Image source: Flickr user seannaber

1) Make the day interactive

Why not just pay for everyone to spend a day at the closest amusement park — the new normal for company picnics? Essentially, because your employees will naturally gravitate towards forming the small groups that mirror their dynamics at the office every day. And while there’s nothing wrong with having “work friends”, a picnic is an opportunity for employees from different departments to socialize and get to know one another. Sometimes these casual relationships can lead to incredibly productive interactions that wouldn’t occur otherwise (the same reason Google places communal dining tables in their cafeterias).

company picnic group

Include families of all kinds in your company picnic.
Image source: Flickr user Jame and Jessica Healy

2) Show you support family – of all kinds

A company that values work-life balance tends to have happier, more satisfied (and thus more productive) employees. The company picnic is a golden opportunity to not only support that balance indirectly, but to offer your employees’ family members a direct thank-you by including them in the celebration. Of course, families don’t always look the same, so take the extra step to let employees know that whomever they consider family is welcome. That might mean your social media manager brings her sister and niece, while the IT supervisor brings his two best friends — the important thing is that your company includes the “life” part of the work-life balance in the festivities.

company picnic potato sack race

You might be surprised at your coworkers’ potato sack prowess.
Image source: Flickr user Matthew Hoelscher

3) Level the playing field

The days of the CEO putting in a cameo at the picnic should be long gone — they should be the first on the playing field when it’s time for games and activities. Putting employees — and managers — in new circumstances can also help reinvigorate workplace dynamics and relationships. The intimidating manager won’t be so scary once he laughs at his own inability to throw a softball, and the junior level intern can gain new respect by scoring a home run in the kickball game. As long as a playful sense of humor governs the day, leveling the playing field can be a very healthy reminder that whether you sit in a corner office or a crowded cubicle, every coworker is an individual with their own unique skill sets.

picnic buffet

Skip the potluck fare for a hearty barbecue buffet.
Image source: Flickr user cliff1066™

4) Don’t take “picnic” too literally

Don’t make your employees spend the morning in the kitchen: resist the urge to make your picnic a potluck. This is your chance to show your employees’ families that you really care enough to provide a wonderful experience for them, and it’s easy to use corporate catering and food delivery from Waiter.com to put on a wow-worthy spread. Consider a drool-worthy barbecue buffet, a crowd-pleasing spread of Mexican food, a New England-style crab feed, or an Oktoberfest theme with bratwurst, sausages, soft pretzels, and a mustard bar.

5) And don’t neglect special diets

Provide a few options for vegetarians and healthy eaters — and not just a collection of side dishes. From quality veggie burgers to hearty, protein-rich salads to fresh fruit, it’s fairly easy to pleasantly surprise your guests with delicious yet healthy picnic fare.

6) Create a modern memento

If your picnic is really fun and festive, chances are the camera phones will be out in full force (who doesn’t want a photo of the boss coming in last place in the potato sack race?). Post a suggested hashtag for the event, and afterwards, gather the Instagram goods into a yearbook-style memory book of the day! It might become the most popular conversation piece in the break room.

At the end of the day, a modern picnic should leave employees and their families feeling happy and grateful to be part of a dynamic, fun-loving company — and Waiter.com’s corporate catering program and prompt delivery can make organizing the big event a breeze!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

3 responses to “6 Tips for a Modern Company Picnic: From Corporate Catering to Inclusive Invitations”

  1. Dan Marchese says:

    I think you make a great point about the CEO being the first one onto the field to get an activity going. People are naturally uncomfortable at a workplace party when the CEO is only associating with his elite group because no one knows who they should take their cues from. Let’s face it- if your picnic is lame, it’s going to feel a lot more like “mandatory fun” instead of a bonding experience, especially if you’re taking up your employees’ precious Saturday afternoon. Activities need to be carefully thought out. You can’t just trust that something will organically develop. The best company party I ever went to had sign up sheets for all the different ideas for activities. Only the top two or three were kept. This prevented everyone from having to half-heartedly participate in things no one wanted to do, and also kept everyone’s spirits up for the whole day.

    • Sara says:

      I love the sign-up sheet idea! Great suggestion to incorporate employee ideas into the planning of the picnic!

  2. TturTurk says:

    Point number 2 is very important. When my family is involved I feel as if there is a much better feeling between employer and employee. Plus, family gets to see a bit of work life, which often they would never be aware of, with the exception of what I may mention at home. On the other side of all of this, is the chance for things to get out of hand and tensions arising from such a good natured, good intended gesture. This is indeed something for managers to be on the lookout for.