47.015: Catering




October 19, 2007

Initiated by:

Christine Sheets | Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services

Endorsed by:

Kathy Krendl | Executive Vice President and Provost

Approved by:

Roderick J. McDavis | President

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Overview

    This policy establishes controls for the production, serving, and sale of food on the Ohio university Athens campus, and at events associated with Ohio university on public property in Athens county. This policy will ensure the protection of the institution's image, limit legal and financial liability and risk, and allow proper management of catering and dining through high-quality products and services.

    This policy does not apply to situations covered by policy 41.121.

    This policy applies without regard to the source of the funds used to pay for the catering services, except as explicitly noted.

    This policy applies to all events in dining halls, and to those events in Baker university center and in other locations, for which the cost of catering services exceeds five hundred dollars. This limit applies to the complete food service needs of an event; neither pyramiding (i.e., dividing one purchase into two or more from the same vendor) nor subdividing between vendors may be used to stay within this limit. (For example, to be exempt, a multi-day, multi-venue conference's total catering budget must fall below the limit, not just the services provided at each particular location and time; regularly scheduled, recurring events, such as weekly colloquia, are each to be treated as a separate event.)

    Catering services will be the initial contact point for those organizing events. Although events in dining halls will be staffed by dining services, this policy will refer uniformly to "catering services," for simplicity.

    Specifically, this policy provides for:

    1. Food service safety at university events. Food and beverages prepared and served by Ohio university catering services meet or exceed industry standards in shipping, receiving, storage, preparation, and holding, thus limiting the university's liability.

    2. Internal management that assures proper sanitation and controls through appropriate food handler permits. It also offers internal collaboration of one-stop service to the campus community.

    3. Care and control of university property. Ohio university catering services have the personnel, experience, knowledge, and equipment to offer professional assistance in planning events so as to minimize the cost of the event.

    4. The monitoring of state requirements for temporary food permits for resale of food items and appropriate liquor controls in compliance with state laws.

    5. The appropriate use of dining facilities in compliance with the american federation of state, county, and municipal employees ("AFSCME" Local 1699) bargaining agreement.

  2. General guidelines

    All food and beverages served on the Ohio university campus or at university-sponsored events will be provided by Ohio university catering services, unless an exemption has been granted as described in this policy. Catering services has the management responsibility to uphold the quality standards for events associated with Ohio university and to limit the risk associated with all food services provided to the Ohio university community and its guests.

    The person responsible for any event that will involve catering should contact the catering office in Baker university center. Staff from that office will assist with the menu planning and will make every attempt to adhere to budgetary constraints. If catering staff are unable to accommodate the client's needs, he or she will be given a list of approved outside caterers and informed of the procedure for requesting a catering exemption. Permission to use an outside caterer will be granted only under limited and specific circumstances; see part (D) ("Requesting a Catering Exemption") of this policy.

  3. Planning a catered event

    1. Schedule meeting location

      Individuals and organizations must request permission to use public areas on the Ohio university campus from the appropriate department. Any fees for use of such space will be coordinated with the responsible department. Fees may be assessed for audio or video, set up, clean up, rental equipment, food service needs, facility use, and staffing; see policy 01.025.

    2. Plan food service, menu, and alcoholic beverages

      After the space has been reserved, the event planner should meet with the catering staff to discuss the specifics of the event. All alcoholic beverages served, sold, or consumed on campus must be approved by the director of Baker university center. All necessary licenses and permits must be applied for and approved before alcoholic beverages will be permitted. During or following the meeting, the catering staff will provide the appropriate forms, based on the planned activities. Alcoholic beverages sold on campus must be ordered through and served by Ohio university catering services, except for contracted service agreements, in order to comply with all applicable state laws. See also policy 24.001.

      Dining hall kitchens are intended for the exclusive use of Ohio university dining and catering services. Use by other groups may be granted in extraordinary circumstances. Such requests should be submitted as part of the Catering Exemption Request; see part (D) ("Requesting a Catering Exemption") of this policy. The group using the dining hall kitchen will be required to pay for one or more dining services staff members to be available to supervise the food preparation, equipment use, and clean-up process.

    3. Finalize participant counts and billing

      The event planner should provide a preliminary estimate of the expected attendance during the first meeting with the catering staff. A guarantee must be provided a minimum of three working days in advance of the event. Clients will be billed for the guaranteed number or the actual number of participants attending the event, whichever is greater. Normally food will be prepared to serve last minute arrivals, but no more than five per cent above the guarantee. If the guaranteed number is increased within the seventy-two-hour period, there will be a twenty-five per cent surcharge added to the cost of the additional meals.

  4. Requesting a catering exemption

    Exemptions from using Ohio university catering services for campus events will be granted only if catering services is unable to fulfill the event planner's needs. The process for requesting an exemption follows:

    1. Meet with Ohio university catering services

      At least thirty days prior to the planned function, the event planner should meet with a staff member from Ohio university catering services. If the catering staff person determines that catering services is unable to accommodate the catering request, she or he will provide the event planner with the "Catering Exemption Request" form and will provide further assistance as possible.

    2. Submit the completed catering exemption request

      The event planner must submit the completed "Catering Exemption Request" form to catering services by fax (593-0135) or through campus mail, to "Facilities Management 136," or online, linked through http://www.ohio.edu/catering/, at least twenty-one days before the planned event. Exemptions typically will be approved or denied within three business days.

    3. Catering services informs the organizer

      Catering services will inform the organizer of the decision as promptly as possible. If the decision is not to grant the exemption as requested, catering services may inform the organizer of alternatives that would be approved, and shall inform the organizer of the opportunity to appeal the decision as described in part (D)(8) of this policy.

    4. Select an approved and eligible caterer

      If an exemption is granted, the caterer must file a food license and provide proof of a one million dollar liability insurance policy at least fourteen days prior to the event. If food is to be prepared by an individual or group of individuals, it must be prepared in a licensed kitchen that has been inspected by the Ohio department of health, has been issued a food license, and that is managed by an individual with certification in food safety (e.g., "ServSafe").

    5. Complete a permit to sell and serve food on campus

      The event planner must also complete the "Permit to Sell/Serve Food on Campus" and receive approval from environmental health and safety, "142 University Service Center, 49 Factory Street," at least seven days before the event. Permits must be displayed during the entire event.

    6. Routine exemptions

      Situations that are routinely granted an exemption to the policy as a result of the first three stages of this process, as described in parts (D)(1) to (D)(3) of this policy, include the following:

      1. Events for which catering services is unable to provide a service due to the unique needs of the group (i.e. cultural, ethnic, or religious programming).

      2. Food that is donated by a caterer with a current food license. The caterer must submit, with the "Catering Exemption Request" and the "Permit to Sell/Serve Food on Campus," documentation (e.g., on company letterhead) specifying the food to be donated and identifying the applicable food license.

    7. Automatic exemptions

      Situations that are eligible for an automatic exemption to the policy without going through the first three stages of this process, as described in parts (D)(1) to (D)(3) of this policy, include the following:

      1. Events excluded from this policy under the cost limit specification (five hundred dollars) in part (A) of this policy.

      2. Educational or instructional activities that are part of a course curriculum in a classroom setting.

      3. Food and beverages purchased or prepared by individuals for personal consumption not open to the public and not for re-sale. Such activities should not be paid for with university funds.

      A completed "Permit to Sell/Serve Food on Campus" must be submitted for all university sponsored events that have automatic exemptions under either of the first two grounds listed above.

    8. Appeals

      If the organizer of the proposed event cannot reach an agreement with catering services, then he or she may appeal to the vice president for finance and administration, whose decision will be final. The appeal request must be forwarded in writing. All original documentation will be provided by catering services to the vice president for finance and administration for final consideration.

  5. Guidelines for outside caterers

    1. Food prepared by an outside approved caterer must be consumed within two or fewer hours of being prepared or delivered. The caterer must provide all necessary equipment and supplies. The approved caterer must also practice safety measures with all preparation, handling, and service of food items, including proper cleaning of the facility at the conclusion of the event.

    2. All food must be prepared in the licensed kitchen specified by the caterer's license (sometimes called a "Level 4 Food Handler's Permit") from the state, meeting all food handler permit requirements.

    3. Food must not be prepared without the supervision of a trained food service professional. A trained food service professional is one who has obtained a "ServSafe" certificate within the last five years or an individual who has completed a food safety training program.

    4. Outside caterers and event sponsors will be held responsible for facility set-up and clean-up charges under policy 01.025.


Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. Vice President for Finance and Administration

  2. Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services

  3. Director of Baker University Center

  4. Director of Environmental Health and Safety

  5. Planning Unit heads

  6. Faculty Senate

  7. Administrative Senate

  8. Student Senate

  9. Graduate Student Senate