Below is a basic run-through of what to order over a typical weekend. Try to go local; attendees appreciate it, and it helps support the local economy. Plus, local places are more likely to give you free or discounted food if you ask! People will remember the food—make it as great as you can within your budget!
Remember good food is often a big indicator of how successful the event will be, low event scores have been reported with bland, cheap fast food.
Order something low-cost and with minimal prep and assembly such as pizza and salads, sandwiches, etc.
On a small event budget we recommend purchasing breakfast foods like bagels, pastries, muffins, yogurt, coffee, etc., at a large, discount supermarket Friday afternoon. This is an inexpensive and healthy alternative to buying hot breakfasts, and you and don’t have to worry about waking up early to pick up prepared breakfast! You may also consider bringing in some electric griddles/waffle-irons and making homemade pancakes/waffles! This is an extremely cheap and popular (albeit labor intensive) alternative to standard breakfasts.
Sandwich trays are always a popular and cost-effective solution for lunch. Remember to find out if there are any vegetarians or gluten free folks so you can accommodate them.
Make this meal a good one and healthy—teams will typically work well into the night and they need sustenance!
With tight budgets, stick with the same store-bought breakfasts foods as Saturday. With more flexible budgets, consider ordering full buffet-style continental breakfasts or prepared breakfast sandwiches.
Buffet-style cold food, such as noodles or salads, or individual items such as wraps, can be cost-effective, interesting and healthy meals.
Because you’ll be eating an early dinner to make room for presentations, instead of a full meal we recommend appetizers and snacks—Cheese, meat, crackers, veggies and dip, cookies, etc.—or a meal in smaller quantities. Keep in mind that teams will be very occupied with prepared for their pitches, so appetizers and food that can be left out to be picked at throughout the evening are ideal.
Alternatively: we’ve seen recent events successfully scheduling dinner AFTER the pitches. To accommodate timing they start pitches a little earlier and then serve dinner while the judges deliberate. Chat with your regional manager about how to make that work.