Serving Food

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Food is often a natural part of many events and meetings that an organization may host. It is possible to serve food at your event, but it can take some extra time and planning, as any formal event or meeting held on campus must follow the University's policies on food service. Please read this website thoroughly and let our office know if you have any questions.

In general, food service policies on campus are split into two categories - whether the event or meeting will have ONLY UW Tacoma students, faculty or staff present OR non-UW Tacoma guests will be in attendance.


Only UW Tacoma Students, Faculty, And Staff

If you are having only UW Tacoma student, faculty, or staff members attending, you can use any of the following options:

  • Use a UW Tacoma preferred caterer: If you use a UW Tacoma preferred caterer, then no additional paperwork is needed. These are companies that pre-completed all of the appropriate paperwork and insurance with UW Tacoma.
     
  • Use a non-UW Tacoma preferred caterer: If you want to use a company that is not listed as a preferred caterer, the following applies:
    • The company must be licensed for catering. Keep in mind that just because a restaurant is in business, does not automatically mean that they are also licensed to cater. These are two different distinctions.
    • This option requires additional paperwork that must be completed. You will need to work with Conference Services to do this. Contact Conference Services at least 4 weeks prior to your event.
    • The caterer must deliver and set up the food; you may not pick up the food and transport it to campus yourself.
    • Ideally, the caterer will also serve the food. If members of your RSO have a valid food handlers permit, they would be able to serve.
     
  • Bring in non-perishable, pre-packaged, ready-to-eat food items. Examples of these foods include:
    • Pizza
    • Bags of chips, popcorn, cookies, granola bars, etc.
    • Pre-made sandwiches
    • Deli platters from Costco, Fred Meyer, etc.
     
  • Homemade food is permitted: Potlucks and homemade food items are permitted ONLY if ALL guests will be UW Tacoma faculty, staff or current students.

Non-UW Tacoma Guests Will Be in Attendance

If you will have non-UW Tacoma guests in attendance, the options below are available to you. Please note that the definition of a "non-UW Tacoma guest" includes persons from UW Seattle and UW Bothell.

  • Use a UW Tacoma preferred caterer: If you use a UW Tacoma preferred caterer, then no additional paperwork is needed. These are companies that pre-completed all of the appropriate paperwork and insurance with UW Tacoma.
     
  • Use a non-UW Tacoma preferred caterer: If you want to use a company that is not listed as a preferred caterer, the following applies:
    • The company must be licensed for catering. Keep in mind that just because a restaurant is in business, does not automatically mean that they are also licensed to cater. These are two different distinctions.
    • This option requires additional paperwork that must be completed. You will need to work with Conference Services to do this. Contact Conference Services at least 4 weeks prior to your event.
    • The caterer must deliver and set up the food; you may not pick up the food and transport it to campus yourself.
    • Ideally, the caterer will also serve the food. If members of your RSO have a valid food handlers permit, they would be able to serve.
     
  • Bring in non-perishable, pre-packaged, ready-to-eat food items. Examples of these foods include:
    • Pizza
    • Bags of chips, popcorn, cookies, etc.
    • Pre-made sandwiches
    • Deli platters from Costco, Fred Meyer, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are several frequently asked questions that our office receives regarding serving food at RSO events and meetings. Please review them and let our office know if you still have questions.

Can I have a potluck for our UWT guests, with a separate area of pre-packaged or catered food for the non-UWT guests?

No; if there will be any non-UWT guests present, you may not host a potluck. See above for your serving options at events with non-UWT guests.

How do I figure out if the restaurant I want to work with is licenced for catering?

Just because a food vendor isn't listed on the UWT Preferred Catering list doesn't mean they aren't licensed. Refer to this list of licensed caterers in Pierce County. If the establishment you wish to work with is listed here, odds are good you can use them at your event.

The food vendor I want to work with isn't on the Preferred Catering list, and is not licensed in Pierce County. Is there ANY way we can still work with them?

If you are set on working with a particular caterer, they may be able to apply for a Temporary Food Establishment Permit through Pierce County. It is essential to read the requirements and deadlines carefully; this is not a last-minute option. There will also be an additional fee involved that you or the vendor will need to pay.

How do I get my Food Handler's Permit so I can help serve food at my RSO's event?

You can take the Pierce County Food Worker Card training online, at a kiosk or in person. There is a $10.00 fee which is each individual's responsibility. 

Can I serve alcohol at my event?

If you are interested in serving alcohol at an RSO event, please contact our office by sending an email to uwtclubs@uw.edu. A meeting with our office to discuss your event will be required. Please refer to this website for more information on serving alcohol at your event.