5 Tips To Plan A More Inclusive Menu At Office Happy Hours

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5 Tips To Plan A More Inclusive Menu At Office Happy Hours

An office happy hour is a great way to foster camaraderie and team building among employees. However, it’s important to ensure that the menu is inclusive and caters to the diverse dietary needs and preferences of all employees. 

This includes providing options for those with food allergies, dietary restrictions, and cultural backgrounds. You can research online and find a suitable caterer who is able to accommodate your requirements as well as the dietary preferences of your colleagues. 

Try browsing reliable online resources that can provide some great ideas for happy hour catering. By following a few simple guidelines, it’s possible to create a menu that is inclusive, delicious, and enjoyable for all.

1. Include Vegan Choices

Incorporating vegan options in a catering menu can be a great way to appeal to a wider range of customers. The vegan movement is growing steadily in the United States. 

Although 2021 estimates by Statista mention only 2% of the population is vegan, this number could be higher in your event, depending upon the percentage of Gen Z and millennials. These generational cohorts are usually prone to adopting vegan behavior.

Some popular vegan options include:

  • Plant-based proteins such as tofu and tempeh
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables
  • Salads with various greens and a variety of toppings
  • Vegan soups, stews, and pasta dishes
  • Vegan desserts such as fruit sorbets, vegan ice cream, or non-dairy cheesecake

It’s important to make sure that all ingredients are clearly labeled as vegan and that the kitchen is able to prepare them separately to avoid cross-contamination. 

2. Incorporate Allergen Preferences

Around 50 million people in the USA experience allergies every year, according to the AAFA or the Aastha and Allergy Foundation of America. In fact, allergies happen to be the sixth largest cause of chronic illness in the US.

Designing a catering menu with options for those who have allergen preferences, such as a gluten allergy or peanut allergy, requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following certain guidelines, you can create a catering menu that is inclusive and accommodating to a wide range of customers, including those with allergen preferences.

Here are some tips for creating a catering menu that includes options for those with allergen preferences:

  • Clearly label all menu items that contain gluten, peanuts, as well as any other common allergens.
  • Create separate sections on the menu for gluten-free and peanut-free options.
  • Use alternative ingredients to replace gluten or peanuts in recipes, such as gluten-free flour or almond butter.
  • Be aware of cross-contamination risks and take steps to minimize them, such as using separate cutting boards for allergen-free ingredients.

3. Offer Multi-Cultural Cuisine

Ensuring cultural biases are not present in the menu options of an office happy hour requires being mindful of cultural diversity and being open to different perspectives. Creating an inclusive menu that is respectful of different cultures can help ensure that all employees feel welcome and included at the office happy hour.

The global diversity and inclusion market is worth $9 billion in 2023, according to market research firm Fact. MR. It is also expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.3% by 2033. Your employees will expect this trend to reflect in event planning, too, as no one wants to feel left out. 

Here are some tips for creating a culturally inclusive menu:

  • Research different cultures and cuisines. This will give you a better understanding of the foods and ingredients that are commonly used in different cultures.
  • Consult with a diverse group of employees to get their input on menu options. This can help ensure that the menu represents a variety of cultural perspectives.
  • Avoid making assumptions about what people will like to eat based on their cultural background. Everyone has different tastes and preferences.
  • Be mindful of the ingredients you use and avoid using any ingredients that may be considered offensive or insensitive to certain cultures. Be open to feedback and willing to make adjustments to the menu if necessary.
  • Be sensitive to any dietary restrictions, and make sure to have options for people with different dietary needs. Avoid stereotyping or exoticizing any culture or cuisine.

4. Aim For Healthier Options

Incorporating healthier options in an office happy hour catering menu is a great way to promote healthier eating habits among employees. 

Here are some tips for creating a healthier menu:

  • Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in the menu. This can be done by incorporating them into appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
  • Use lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and tofu. Avoid deep-fried options and opt for grilled, baked, or steamed options instead.
  • Use whole grains and healthy fats. Quinoa, brown rice, or whole wheat bread are options in whole grains, and olive oil and avocado oil are considered healthy fats.
  • Include salads with a variety of greens, vegetables, and lean protein options. Keep lighter options for salad dressings, such as vinaigrettes or lemon juice.
  • Offer non-alcoholic options for those watching their weight, such as sparkling water, iced tea, or fresh juice.
  • Consider asking your caterer to provide nutrition facts or labeling options that are low in calories, fat, sugar, or sodium.

By incorporating these healthier options into the menu, you can help promote healthier eating habits among employees and create a more enjoyable and beneficial office happy hour experience.

5. Implement Ecofriendly Catering

Ecofriendly catering options refer to practices that minimize the environmental impact of catering events. In the context of plates and cutlery used, there are several ways to make catering more eco-friendly. By incorporating these eco-friendly options into catering, you can help reduce the environmental impact of the event and promote sustainable practices.

Here are a few useful ideas:

  • Use compostable or biodegradable plates and cutlery. These are made from natural materials such as bamboo, sugarcane, or palm leaves and can be composted after use, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.
  • Use reusable plates and cutlery. This eliminates the need for disposable plates and cutlery, reducing waste and conserving resources.
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, which are often made from virgin tree fibers, and can be washed and reused multiple times.

An inclusive menu is an important aspect of an office happy hour. By providing a variety of options that cater to different dietary needs and preferences, you can ensure that all employees feel welcome and included in the event. 

By following the tips discussed in this article, you can create a menu that is delicious, healthy, and respectful of different cultures. Remember to be open to feedback, willing to make adjustments, and stay informed about the latest trends and options. With a bit of planning, you can create an office happy hour that will be enjoyed by all.

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