Who doesn't love a potluck? A communal lunch is a great way to spend time with your coworkers. Not only does it provide an opportunity for you to step away from your cubicle, but it also gives you a chance to get to know your coworkers. Planning a company potluck can be easy when you follow a few simple steps. Let's get started!
Decide on a Date / Occasion
While you don't necessarily need a reason to organize a potluck, it might be fun to choose a theme or a special occasion to celebrate. Maybe one of your coworkers is pregnant? A potluck/baby shower is a great idea! It might also be fun to hold a potluck for Thanksgiving, Cinco de Mayo, or even on your company CEO's birthday.
Plan the Menu
While the whole idea of a potluck is to enjoy a hodgepodge of tasty dishes, you'll want to make sure that the collection isn't too eclectic. After all, who wants to eat meatloaf with Thai noodles and tacos? An easy way to prevent such a scenario is to create a signup sheet. That way, everyone can see what everyone else is brining and can adjust their dish accordingly. A signup sheet can also prevent duplicates and can ensure that you have an even spread of appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts.
If you've decided to hold the potluck on a holiday or special occasion, it might be fun to challenge your coworkers to bring dishes that fit with a particular theme. Some examples of occasions and corresponding foods include:
Cinco de Mayo - tacos, burritos, chips and guacamole, rice, beans, and sopapillas (it might even be fun to serve virgin margaritas!)
Thanksgiving - turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie
MLB opening day - hotdogs, popcorn, soft pretzels, nachos, and cotton candy
Fourth of July - hamburgers, hotdogs, french-fries, baked beans, and good ol' apple pie
Organize the Setup
Everyone obviously won't be able to heat their dishes in the microwave. So, to prevent a bottleneck at the office's only microwave, ask your coworkers to bring their dishes in crock-pots. You'll also want to organize a fridge cleanout in the days leading up to the potluck so there's plenty of room for everyone to store their dishes. You might even want to arrange for a few coworkers to bring in coolers and bags of ice. That way, you can be sure that all the dishes will be safely stored and that your beverages are ice cold.
Don't Forget About Utensils
Nothing would ruin a potluck like not having any plates or forks. Make sure someone is bringing heavy-duty paper or plastic plates, napkins, plastic utensils, and smaller plates and bowls for desserts. You should also ask your coworkers to bring in some plastic storage containers. That way, leftovers can be evenly doled out after everyone's finished eating and you won't have to worry about your fridge being jam-packed in the following days.
Plan for Cleanup
Everyone likes a party, but no one seems to stick around for cleanup. Don't get suckered into cleaning up after everyone on your own. Instead, make each individual responsibility for cleaning up their own dish. If a bowl or pan needs to be washed, encourage everyone to wash their own dishes. You might want to also create a schedule for any ancillary tasks like wiping down the countertops, replenishing the paper towels, and taking out the trash.
Hosting a company potluck may seem like a daunting undertaking but breaking it down into manageable tasks can make it easier than you probably imagine.