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Business Office - Event Planning
Event Planning Guidelines from the SoHE Business Office.
- Reimbursement is based on actual costs - see Business Office - Hosted Meals/Refreshments/Receptions
- Maximum rates are per person
- Tax and tip are included in maximum per person rate
- Tip is based on subtotal amount; tax should not be factored into tip % amount
- Itemized receipts are required
- Catering does NOT include:
- Food purchased and prepared by University staff
- Prepared food (pre-packaged box lunches, sandwiches, cheese trays, pizza, cookies, fruit or similar items) purchased from a licensed restaurant and/or catering operation and served by university staff on property owned or leased by the University.
- If a vendor is providing catering services on-campus (serving food on campus/space owned by University, and prepares, transports, sets out and/or serves food), a high-risk insurance certificate is required.
- If a vendor is providing catering services off-campus, a high-risk insurance certificate is required, unless the meal is being provided/served in a restaurant, or by hotel kitchen staff or the hotel caterer where the event/meeting is being held.
- Must contact Wisconsin Union Catering or University Housing Catering first.
- If neither Wisconsin Union Catering or University Housing Catering are available to provide catering, then an outside vendor may be contacted to provide catering for an event.
- If you do not use Wisconsin Union Catering or University Housing Catering, check the UW Risk Management website to ensure that the vendor you use is allowable. If you would like to use a vendor that is not on the UW Risk Management list, they may be added to the list if they can provide a Certificate of Insurance that meets UW requirements. Please contact Michael Kukula if you need assistance with this.
- UW Purchasing Services must sign all outside catering contracts.
You Will Need An Insurance Certificate:
- If you hire a Caterer to provide and serve food or if you hire a restaurant to serve food at a location other than their restaurant. Prior to the event, the Certificate must be forwarded to Risk Management for approval.
You Will Not Need An Insurance Certificate:
- If the meal will be provided and served in a restaurant.
- If the meal is being provided and served by the hotel kitchen staff or by the hotel caterer where the event/meeting is being held.
- Note: Purchasing the ingredients for a meal, prepared by an individual who is not a licensed restaurant and/or catering operation, is not reimbursable through the University, since there is no way to determine the qualifications of the cook nor the sanitation of the kitchen. Events held in private homes must utilize prepackaged foods, a licensed restaurant, and/or catering operation.
For more information: Business Services Catering Policy – On and Off Campus
|Catering Type||Description||Allowable Expenses||In State||Out of State||Reimbursement Info|
|Hosted Meals||A hosted meal is considered any meal conducted during meal-time hours||Reasonable food and beverage costs|
Gratuity (20% max)
*Alcohol NOT included.
|$12/person - breakfast|
$18/person - lunch
$30/person - dinner
*Gratuity and tax are included in the calculation of per person cost (should try to have taxes removed)
|$15/person - breakfast|
$23/person - lunch
$37/person - dinner
*Gratuity and tax are included in the calculation of per person cost
|Hosted Meals Checklist|
|Receptions||A reception is considered any gathering of individuals that may not have a specific agenda or time frame. The purpose must be related to promoting the mission of the hosting department.||Reasonable food and beverage costs|
Reception room costs
Gratuity (20% max)
*Alcohol NOT included.
|$12 per person limit|
* gratuity and tax are included in the calculation of per person cost (should try to have taxes removed)
|Refreshments||Refreshments include any food or drinks consumed during meeting breaks, events, seminars, receptions, etc.||Limited to one break each morning and afternoon (no food items allowed at morning break if breakfast is provided)|
Small food items
Non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks)
|No more than $10 per person* per break|
*gratuity and tax are included in the calculation of per person cost (should try to have taxes removed)
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Alcohol is not an allowable UW Madison expense. Alcohol must be paid directly by UW Foundation. See UW-Madison policy on Alcohol Beverage Regulations.
The following highlights a few key policy and procedural issues related to providing alcohol at events or purchasing at meals.
- Obtain approval from the Dean’s Office prior to the event at which alcohol will be purchased. Contact Associate Dean Feggestad to request approval.
- Do not pay for alcohol with a UW purchasing card. A UW corporate card may be used or personal funds, which will then be paid through e-reimbursement.
If possible, reimbursements and payments are simplified if alcohol is billed separately from the food purchase.
|Alcohol at Hosted Meal||These are typically conducted for faculty and staff recruitments, for visiting scholars, or for development purposes. Please note that the UW-Foundation has a limit $25 per person for alcohol. Do not pay for the alcohol with a UW Purchasing Card.|
|Alcohol at On-Campus Event||Contact Wisconsin Union Catering or University Housing Catering first.|
If they are unavailable, alcohol servers must obtain an Alcohol Beverage Service permit and take required training.
|Alcohol at Off-Campus Event||It is recommended that you request that the vendor provide a separate invoice for the alcohol expenses. It is not necessary but it will simplify the payment process. Do not pay for the alcohol with a UW Purchasing Card.|