Guide to Organising the Office Team Lunch

Upon entering the corporate world recently, I discovered the joys and pains of trying to organise team lunches. There’s always a differing opinion of what food to eat and whether to have a casual quick bite or a long, expensive lunch.

I wish that upon my company induction, in between all the introductions, payroll forms and presentations, that they included a slide on office lunch etiquette. I suppose it’s one of those unwritten rules that people learn from observation. In the last couple of years, I’ve been around big and small companies both in the CBD and in the suburbs. Here’s my guide to organising a fail-proof office team lunch:

Small teams (1 – 4)

This size is the most flexible of them all. The smaller the team, the more casual fare you can get away with. Food courts are always a budget option but there’s no reason to not loosen the purse strings either. Given that it’s a small team, 1 – 1.5 hours is generally sufficient to service up to 4 people. Otherwise if you’re a bit strapped for time, consider a quick bowl of soup noodles from various Asian restaurants who offer laksa, ramen, wonton noodles or pho which are usually served up quite speedily.

Recommendation – head to your local pub or café and check out the lunch specials. This ticks all the boxes of being casual, relaxed and cosy enough for a small group. Our favourites are The Abercrombie, Jimmy’s Recipe Laksa and Menya.

Medium teams (5 – 9)

When it gets to the size of 5+ people, food courts are out of the question because it’ll be near impossible to find group seating. Sit down restaurants are the common choice with pubs and cafes still suitable for a more casual affair. Bookings are a must to secure group seating. Expect the lunch to last 1-2 hours as coordinating times for this many people will be a hassle, with a latecomer often dragging the lunch on.

Recommendation – Yum Cha is popular choice as the group is large enough for you to sample a wide variety of dishes. Good Yum Cha in places in Sydney include Kam Fook, Marigold and Sky Phoenix.

Large teams (10+)

With a large team of 10+ people, booking at least 1 day in advance is a must. Sit down restaurants are the most accommodating with some of the larger pubs able to cater for groups this size as well, but forget about your local café as your group will probably overwhelm the kitchen. Best to hold this lunch on a Friday, as it can almost be guaranteed that you will not be returning to work after this, with many choosing to start Friday drinks early with such a large group.

Recommendation – Italian, Spanish and Modern Australian will be able to cater sharing plates with big portions. Unfortunately, tables at Yum Cha are a stretch at 10+ unless you want to split the tables. Our picks are Barrafina Tapas Bar and The Winery.

What are your thoughts for team lunches? Do you have any recommended procedures or cuisines which we should know about? Let us know in the comments below.

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