Planning an Office Holiday Party Menu? 5 Tips for a Successful Spread

Posted by on Monday, December 9th, 2013 with 2 Comments

60s holiday party & contemporary holiday party

A time-honored tradition: the holiday office party. Image courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives, flickr user iCrossing.

Each December, businesses small and large face the challenge of an ubiquitous tradition: the office holiday party. Although intended to boost morale and celebrate success, the lucky employees who plan these annual soirees know that combining work and play can be tricky. Especially during the busy Christmas season, many employees’ calendars are already overbooked, and expectations will run especially high to make the party a success.

Nowhere are the stakes higher than the holiday party menu. A steady supply of food and drink is crucial, and our holiday party menu tips will help you craft an exciting spread while pleasing all kinds of palates.

1. Let the Space Dictate the Food

Plan your menu around your space. Ample supply of tables and chairs? Feel free to serve up hearty plates of food that will require a fork and knife. Big, open space perfect for mingling, but nowhere to sit? Stick to finger foods, or items that are easy to eat while balancing a drink. Put yourself in the average partygoer’s shoes, and envision whether or not you would feel comfortable and professional talking to your boss while eating (for many reasons, an office party is not the proper venue for Sloppy Joes).

Tapas buffet with serrano ham

A tapas buffet is an unexpected treat. Image courtesy of flickr user Javi Vte Rejas.

2. Get Creative With Global Fare

Looking to break out of the predictable cheese-and-crackers doldrums? Go global. Planning an international holiday party menu is a great way to shake up the traditional table without alienating the pickier partygoers. Instead of shrimp cocktail, serve up a sushi platter. Consider Chinese potstickers or Mediterranean tapenade-topped crostini for appetizers, and serve heartier Spanish tapas, like braised chorizo or ham and cheese croquettes, later in the evening to keep diners sated as the party rolls on.

3. Offer Alcohol in Moderation

Every office Christmas party seems to generate a legendary tale of the one coworker who dipped a little too liberally into the punch bowl. If your workplace wants to curb alcohol consumption without compromising on the festive atmosphere (or spring for an open bar), plan a menu of successive courses specifically meant for pairing with beer and wine. Serve slices of sharp cheddar with a glass of a locally-brewed IPA, or dish up a light seafood ceviche with a pink rose — all the way to chocolate cake paired with a sweet dessert wine. The liquor will flow in an orderly fashion, and all the partygoers will have something to talk about as they taste together!

4. Don’t Ignore the Vegetarians

Be truly considerate of the vegetarians — your coworkers or their significant others — who will be attending the office holiday party. A bowl of overdressed iceberg lettuce plopped down next to a beautiful glazed ham will not make any vegetarian guest feel welcome and cared for! A serving of butternut squash ravioli or eggplant Parmesan, however, feels like a real dish — not an afterthought or a collection of side items.

fresh fruit bowl

Offer a few healthy options on your holiday menu. Image courtesy of flickr user moofbong

5. Allow for Lighter Options

The holidays can unfortunately be synonymous with weight gain, and many attendees at your party may be hoping for a few lighter options on the table. Provide a nice mix of indulgent party food and wholesome, healthy fare — think bacon-wrapped shrimp alongside beautifully roasted Brussels sprouts, or a tray of holiday cookies next to a glistening bowl of freshly cut fruit. The rule of thumb when planning your holiday party menu should be to encourage indulging — it is a celebration, after all! — but not make it unavoidable.

Holiday parties are  wonderful occasions to celebrate and show employee appreciation in the workplace, which is the speciality of the team here at Waiter.com. Whether you choose to serve a sushi buffet or a traditional sit-down holiday meal, contact us for assistance with your holiday menu planning today!

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!

2 responses to “Planning an Office Holiday Party Menu? 5 Tips for a Successful Spread”

  1. BlackJack Nights says:

    Plan your menu in advance and make sure that it has food options for everyone.  Either allow three (3) or four (4) meat options for selection or offer a buffet.  Buffets are always good because they allow people to pick and choose what they like to eat.

  2. How To Host An Office Christmas Party In Melbourne- Christmas party planning says:

    Plan your menu in advance and make sure that it has food options for everyone.  Either allow three (3) or four (4) meat options for selection or offer a buffet.  Buffets are always good because they allow people to pick and choose what they like to eat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *