University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Payment for Meals

Business Meals

Note that the provisions in this section do not supersede meal reimbursements as stipulated by Collective Bargaining agreements.

In general, employees are responsible for paying for their own meals when they are not traveling. That said, meals associated with business meetings or for business purposes may be reimbursed. Examples of circumstances under which reimbursement is justified include meals during conferences, workshops, or interviews of job candidates, and meals with visiting lecturers, donors, or other official guests. Meals between faculty/staff and students, while allowable when there is a business justification, should be infrequent.

In addition, units may purchase group business meals when a group meal is essential to the effectiveness and efficiency of the meeting. This is especially the case when multiple units are called together for a substantial meeting, or when stopping the meeting to allow employees to leave for a normal meal would be disruptive and inconvenient for the University. If the meeting can be accomplished effectively without a meal, then it should be.

Group business meals are usually purchased through dining services (including Chuck and Augies), outside vendors, or the Nathan Hale Inn. They require the prior written approval of the Department Head, Director or Dean. The approval request should include the purpose of the meeting or event; a formal written agenda, a list of attendees with their associated departments/entities; and the expected cost of the meal per person. Set-up and delivery costs associated with the group meal shall not be included in the meal limit calculation.

For all business meals, including group meals, organizers should limit attendance to essential guests only. Under no circumstances will reimbursement for each guest (including taxes and tip) exceed three times the appropriate GSA Per Diem meal amount for the location. The University will reimburse expenses for food and non-alcoholic beverages only; the University does not pay for alcoholic beverages.

Refer to the Travel and Entertainment Policies – section 5f and complete the Business Meal Form.


Contracting and Paying for Catering Services

Events costing less Than $2,000

University departments are authorized to contract for catering services without first obtaining a purchase order number, provided the total expenditure is less than $2,000. Departments making catering arrangements under this authority are encouraged to obtain a written and signed quotation from the selected vendor. If there is any question about whether the catering services might exceed $2,000, the department should obtain a purchase order number before the services are provided.

There are two alternatives for payments for the catering service:

1.   The vendor will bill the University for the service. When the bill is received by the department, a Disbursement Voucher should be prepared made payable to the vendor. The explanation box of the Disbursement Voucher must contain:

  1. The purpose of the meeting
  2. Date of service
  3. Names of persons who attended and their relationship to the University

Attach the bill from the vendor to the Disbursement Voucher before approving.

2.   The host will pay the bill and obtain a receipt. A Disbursement Voucher made payable to the host should be submitted with the receipt attached. The explanation box of the Disbursement Voucher must contain:

  1. The purpose of the meeting
  2. The date of the service
  3. Names of persons who attended and their relationship to the University

For events costing at least $2,000 but under $10,000

Catering services that cost at least $2,000 but fall below the bid threshold of $10,000 must be submitted to the Purchasing Department on a purchase requisition, accompanied by a signed quotation from the vendor, in advance of the required services. A purchase order will be issued prior to the event.

The vendor will bill the University for the service. When the bill is received by the department, it should be approved using the purchase order approval stamp, and a receiving report should be entered in KFS. The bill should then be forwarded to the Accounts Payable Office for payment.

For events costing $10,000 or more

State procurement statutes require the University to competitively bid catering services when the cost is $10,000 or more.

The Purchasing Department provides competitive bidding for catering as a service to those departments who wish to use it. To take advantage of this service, submit a purchase requisition along with your specifications and recommended vendors. Allow twenty-one (21) calendar days for the bid process. The bids will be reviewed with the department prior to the award. A purchase order will be issued to the successful bidder.

If the department elects to obtain bids, three (3) important points must be followed:

  1. The upfront research/legwork done by the department should eliminate vendors with an undesirable location. A minimum of three (3) written quotes should be solicited from three (3) vendors or three (3) facilities where you would be willing to hold your event.
  2. Your department’s requirements must be issued in writing to the vendors or facilities you are soliciting. It is essential that all vendors are provided the same information/requirements to bid and it is verifiable. Include a response date so you can negate any offers received after that date.
  3. Submit a purchase requisition along with all your supporting documentation. If no other information is needed by Purchasing, a purchase order will be issued to the successful vendor.

Selecting the option most appropriate to accomplishing your objective will expedite the ordering process and reduce the amount of time spent filling out and filing forms.

Note: Competitive bidding for catering services and conferences that exceed a cumulative annual cost of $50,000 must be handled in their entirety by the Purchasing Department in concert with the Connecticut Department of Labor. Contracts for these services are subject to the State requirement of public advertisement for bid solicitations of $50,000 and over, and the Standard Wage Statute.

The vendor will bill the University for the service. When the bill is received by the department, it should be approved using the purchase order approval stamp, and a receiving report should be entered in KFS. The bill should then be forwarded to the Acounts Payable Office for payment.


Catering Service by University Catering

Departments may make arrangements for catered events through University Catering, a unit of the UConn Dining Services Department. The rules that permit the payment of business meals to outside caterers also apply to University Catering.

Payments can be made using cash, check, or department transfer. If payment is by department transfer the University Catering office will send an invoice after the event. If the department has questions regarding the invoice University Catering must be contacted within seven days. After the seven day grace period the invoice will be charged to the department’s KFS account number by electronic transfer.

Departments can also entertain at any of the campus dining facilities operated by Dining Services. Payments can be made using group tickets issued by University Catering or the host may pay for the event and request reimbursement. The employee reimbursement procedure is the same used for reimbursements for payments made to outside vendors.


Insurance Requirements for Catering Contracts

All caterers serving at official University events are required to present evidence that they have both liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. A Certificate of Insurance, naming the University of Connecticut as an “additional insured”, must be submitted to the Purchasing Department prior to the catered event. Minimum acceptable coverage will include the following:

  • General Liability: General Aggregate $1,000,000
  • Automobile Liability: Any Auto $1,000,000
  • Excess Liability: Umbrella $1,000,000
  • Personal Injury: $ 300,000
  • Each Occurrence: $ 300,000
  • Combined Single Limit: $ 300,000

Since the Purchasing Department does not write purchase orders for catering services valued at less than $2,000, it will be the ordering department’s responsibility to ensure that the necessary documents are submitted and meet the above criteria. Any questions regarding insurance requirements for catering services should be directed to the Purchasing Department at extension 4992.

Some small specialty caterers may be unable to meet the one million dollar requirement. In such cases a waiver may be granted on a case-by-case basis provided the total contract cost is less than $2,000. In such instances, the department wishing to utilize the catering services should submit to the Purchasing Department, a letter explaining the unique capabilities of the selected firm and a copy of the insurance certificate describing the amount of coverage available. Requests to hire uninsured caterers will not be approved. Any actions of uninsured caterers, which result in personal injury and/or property damage, i.e., food poisoning, scalding, spillage, or vehicular mishaps could potentially create a liability for the University. It is the intent of this insurance requirement to mitigate the University’s liability exposure.


Exemption of Connecticut Sales Tax 

Departments may be asked by the vendor to provide a Cert 112 or Cert 123 prior to the event in order to provide an exempt status for Connecticut Sales Tax. A Cert 112 provides exemption for a single event whereas a Cert 123 provides a blanket exemption for a year. If this is not filed prior to the event, the department is obligated to pay the Connecticut sales tax. Contact Purchasing to inquire about particular vendors.