It may be a no-brainer. Lunch is the most important part of the day, especially when you are asking people to work for a whole day. It is also one of the largest expenses to consider when you start budgeting for the workshop.


CAW recommends determining the cost for food and refreshments as the first line-item in your planning budget. Estimate total food expenses by answering these questions:

  • Will you be providing lunch as well as coffee and snacks?
  • How many attendees, including host and organizers?
  • How much for each attendee to have lunch?
  • How much for each attendee to have coffee and snacks?
  • Is there a funding source available?

Host Organization Responsibility

Often the Host Organization takes the lead in identifying and ordering suitable catering and snacks since they know the area and near-by restaurants. Organizers and the host organization should discuss the different options during planning meetings. Some things to consider when selecting food options:

  • Variety of options taking reasonable care to accommodate different dietary needs.
  • Ease of ordering and efficient delivery
  • Buffet-style works well
  • Not pizza if at all possible


For CAWs during the AMIA conference, funding for lunch is collected through a pre-conference workshop registration fee. Setting a food budget helps seek additional funding to cover the costs.

Lunch Statement

In the volunteer packet, have a brief statement that lunch will be provided and what attendees should expect, so they can plan accordingly to their dietary needs. Some examples are below:

  • “A late lunch will be provided.”
  • “A catered lunch, with vegetarian and vegan options, will be provided.”
  • “A late lunch will be provided. Meat and vegetarian options will be available, but if you have special dietary needs, we suggest packing a lunch to bring along.”
Lunch during the CAW in Savannah, GA at the Georgia Historical Society, October 2014. It is nice to have a variety of food and drinks. Avoid pizza if possible.