The Slice

15 Tips For Ordering Food For Remote Employees (Free Checklist)

August 12, 2022

One great way to let your team know their hard work is appreciated is to send a meal to their door. This catering can be a great addition to your weekly Zoom meetings, a virtual team-building activity, or a late-night effort to meet an important deadline. If you're not careful, though, ordering food for employees that are located all over the globe can practically become a second job. There are a lot of factors to consider, including time zones, dietary preferences, budget, and more. Let's take a look at fifteen tips to help ensure that your next team meal goes smoothly, no matter where your employees sign on from.

Showing appreciation for your team is essential in any workplace, but it becomes even more vital when your employees work remotely. Whether your company has been distributed for years or you just made the switch since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, you've likely found that recognizing your workers' efforts requires more deliberate effort when you aren't all together in the same office.

One great way to let your team know their hard work is appreciated is to send a meal to their door. This catering can be a great addition to your weekly Zoom meetings, a virtual team-building activity, or a late-night effort to meet an important deadline.

If you're not careful, though, ordering food for employees that are located all over the globe can practically become a second job. There are a lot of factors to consider, including time zones, dietary preferences, budget, and more.

Let's take a look at fifteen tips to help ensure that your next team meal goes smoothly, no matter where your employees sign on from.

1. Ask Your Team About Dietary Preferences

In 2022, more than half of Americans reported following a specific eating pattern or diet in the last year. This percentage means that there is a good chance some of your employees have dietary preferences that you'll want to consider when ordering food for your team.

There are many different reasons someone might follow a specific diet, including promoting their long-term health, trying to lose weight, or managing a health condition. Others might follow a specific diet for environmental or ethical reasons or an allergy.

It's a good idea to ask your team about dietary preferences before you get ready to place the order. Some diets, such as veganism, keto, and gluten-free, could be more or less challenging to accommodate depending on what region of the world your worker lives in. Having some extra time to devise a solution can make ordering food for your employees much less stressful.

2. Do an Allergy Check

Did you know that about 32 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have food allergies? Naturally, the last thing you want to do is send your employee a meal that will trigger an allergic reaction, so it's essential that you ask all of your employees about their sensitivity to allergens before placing a delivery order.

The symptoms of the harmful immune response that can result from consuming allergens can range from quite mild to severe and life-threatening. While more than 170 types of foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions, some types of allergies are more common than others. On top of that, it isn't unusual for an individual to be allergic to more than one type of food.

Some of the most common food allergies include:

  • Shellfish

  • Milk

  • Peanut

  • Egg

  • Tree nuts

  • Wheat

  • Fish

  • Soy

If you plan on sending meals to your remote employees, consider asking each of them to fill out a short questionnaire asking about any allergies, how severe they are, and if they have any dietary restrictions. You can then file these answers away so you can easily refer to them when placing meal orders. Just be sure to ask your employees to update their answers if anything changes in their dietary habits.

3. Consider the Occasion

Are you ordering food for your weekly meeting, or is it celebrating an employee's retirement? Are you and your team pulling an all-nighter to meet an important deadline, or are you hosting a virtual holiday party?

Depending on the occasion, you might find that the type of food you want to order and your budget will vary significantly. For example, maybe you want to go all out in a virtual celebration for meeting an important milestone as a company, while you might want to keep it simple for your weekly virtual lunch get-together.

4. Plan a Budget Ahead of Time

Of course, ordering food for your remote employees comes at a cost. However, for a special occasion, it could be worth splurging as a way to show how much you appreciate your team. When setting up a system for sharing virtual meals with some regularity, you'll likely find that a budget is necessary.

On top of that, you'll want to consider how tipping the delivery drivers will be dealt with. Are employees expected to deal with this cost at their front door, or can you work with each restaurant to take care of the tip?

5. Don't Forget the Details

It's easy for the details to get lost in the shuffle when you're ordering for a large, distributed group. You'll want to think about what your employees will be drinking, whether there are side sauces that are essential to go with meals, and if your team will need disposable utensils and napkins from the restaurant.

6. Think About the Time Zones

One of the trickiest parts of managing a remote team is the reality of time zones. If most of your employees are only an hour or two apart, planning a meal together is very manageable. However, if you've got someone in St. Louis, someone in Chiang Mai, and a bunch of people sprinkled throughout Europe, it can be difficult to find a suitable time for everyone.

7. Be Mindful of Religious Beliefs 

Whether your team is distributed through the United States or across the world, there's a good chance that your employees practice various religious beliefs. Many religions have special dietary laws or practices that their adherents follow, and it's a good idea to keep this in mind when ordering food for your employees.

For example, the specific religious dietary restrictions of the Mormons include coffee and tea, while many Jewish individuals might choose to only eat foods labeled as kosher. Under Islamic law, food permissible to eat is known as halal, while many Hindus are vegetarian.

Asking your employees about any dietary restrictions before you order food can ensure that you don't send someone a meal that is against their religious beliefs. You don't necessarily have to ask about their religious practices– if you ask about dietary restrictions, most people will list the diet they follow for religious reasons.

This is particularly important when ordering food for your employees in a hurry. You might be tempted to send everyone a pepperoni pizza, assuming this is typically a crowd favorite. However, this could leave a number of your employees without anything to eat, whether for religious reasons, an allergy, or dietary preferences.

8. Ask About Spice

Depending on the type of food you are ordering for your employees, you also might want to ask them about how spicy they like their meals.

If you're ordering pizza and burgers, you shouldn't have to worry about an employee getting food that's too spicy for them to eat. However, if you're ordering food from a restaurant that could have some kick to it– whether it be Indian, Thai, Caribbean, or Mexican– it's a good idea to check with your employees about their spice tolerance and also local restaurants regarding how they measure spiciness.

9. Offer Healthy Options

Even if your employees don't follow a specific diet, there's a good chance some team members are trying to prioritize eating healthy foods. When deciding where you are going to be ordering meals from, consider whether there are more healthy options available, including salads and veggie-heavy dishes.

10. Plan Ahead

If you've never ordered food for remote employees before, you'd be surprised just how logistically complicated it can be. If all of your workers are in major metropolitan areas that aren't terribly far from one another, you'll find the whole process is much simpler than if they are sprinkled through various time zones and in rural areas.

To reduce the time and stress it takes to order meals for your entire distributed team, you can use a service that will take care of all the details for you. However, if you want to go it alone, you'll want to start planning in advance to look at what the available delivery options are for each team member.

11. Keep It Simple

You want to show your employees you appreciate them, which is great! One of the most popular perks offered by companies is free food, and your team will be delighted to still have this benefit even when they're working from home.

That being said, it can be good to keep things simple as a general rule. If you're placing the orders yourself, you might find that it's a tremendous time cost when you let each employee order whatever they want from whatever restaurant they please. Instead, consider offering a handful of options that offers a suitable amount of variety without making the ordering process overly complicated.

12. Think About Local Restaurant Hours

When you're planning a remote lunch meeting, an early evening happy hour, or a breakfast brainstorming session, you'll want to consider your employees' locations and the typical restaurant hours in these spots.

You'll find that there is a much wider variety of options in urban centers than there are in rural places. If a lot of your team is living out in the sticks, you'll want to take a look at when food delivery is possible and how this translates to your other team members' time zones before you schedule the virtual event.

13. Plan For a Potential Language Barrier

Are you going to be doing all of the ordering yourself? If all of your employees are located in the same country as your headquarters, you can skip over this step. However, if you've got a team full of digital nomads that are calling a new part of the world "home" every few months, you might have to consider whether you will need assistance placing delivery orders if you aren't proficient in the dominant language where they live.

14. Make It a Regular Treat

Creating a sense of togetherness and camaraderie is hard enough when your team works in the same office. When you manage a remote team, you'll find that deliberately creating opportunities to spend time together virtually can positively impact your company culture, employee retention, and more.

Buying your employees lunch is a great way to show them your appreciation while also providing an opportunity for team bonding.

Offering a weekly lunch, pizza party, or happy hour for your virtual team can help your team all get to know each other even when they live on different sides of the globe. On top of that, it can help to improve focus, boost productivity, and increase morale.

15. Choose the Right Company

Organizing a virtual lunch with your remote workers can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it doesn't have to be. When you choose the right company to throw you a virtual pizza party, send over breakfast goodies for an early morning meeting, or put together the perfect lunch, ordering food for your team can be simple, fast, and stress-free.

Is Your Team in Need of a Pizza Party?

While there are a lot of awesome benefits to working remotely for companies and employees alike, there are also some downsides that have to be addressed. Even though everyone loves being able to work in their PJs and throw a load of laundry in on their lunch break, working from home can feel lonely and isolating. For this reason, managers of remote teams are increasingly interested in finding ways to create opportunities for socializing, togetherness, and team building regardless of where their employees are located.

One awesome way to put a smile on everyone's face is to throw them a pizza party. After all, who doesn't love pizza?

If you decide to go it alone when ordering food for remote employees, make sure you use our checklist of tips so the process can go as smoothly as possible.

If you've got better things to do, though, we'd love to throw a pizza party for you. Getting started is quick and easy, and you can rest assured that your entire team will have a fresh pizza delivered to them right on time, no matter where they are in the world.

The Pizzatime Blog

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Our team changed from being in the office to working from home permanently through the pandemic. So Pizzatime gives our team a reason to gather and have social time. We also use Pizzatime to get together for milestone celebrations. Everyone loves pizza, right!?!
Angela T
CL Underwriting Team Lead
Grange Insurance
It arrives at the time of the event, so everyone is sharing the same experience at the same time.
Mariuxi T
Field marketing specialist
It takes away the huge time consumption it normally would take if I had to place orders for everyone manually or if I had to send them all gift cards and expense everything, one by one.
Madison G
Executive Assistant
Pizza and coffee are everyone's love language and a great way to treat your employees, teams, or friends. Plus, Pizzatime makes the entire process SO easy! I couldn't recommend them enough!
Kim K
Administrative Assistant
General Mills
The best option to use when planning a virtual lunch for teams across multiple sites and locations.
Sherry S
Administrative Assistant
Capital One
A convenient way to order pizza for a group and save time. It’s great for virtual lunch and happy hour meetings with entertainment.
Loubna S
Executive Assistant

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