Best Practices: Food and Alcohol Purchases

  • To ensure all food and alcohol purchases are reimbursable and meet the requirements of UGA Policies and USG Policies.
Why are these best practices?
  • Campus colleagues have a need to provide meals or refreshments to: students, potential students and potential new faculty and staff members, employees and staff in training or business meetings, or employees required to remain onsite for a period of time that spans their meal period. This is an important privilege and useful tool.  Providing guidance on making the decision whether to provide food/meals, identifying the funding source, and finishing with payment will help to streamline this process.

Relevant approval documents:

Best Practices
  • Alcohol purchased for resale in an auxiliary unit is the only authorized type of institutional funds available for the purchase of alcohol. If you do not have an account with the Foundation that will allow for this purchase, you may not use institutional funds nor receive reimbursement.

  • When planning an event, meeting, or training where food will be provided, consult UGA (University of Georgia) Policy: In addition, you may consult the Food Reference Chart developed from this policy.

  • If your event, meeting, or training does not meet the criteria and you do not have an account with the UGA Foundation – you may NOT purchase food.  If food is provided, the individual purchasing the food will not be reimbursed.

  • A departmental “lunch meeting” or “breakfast meeting” attended by departmental employees is typically not reimbursable using institutional funds – even if the meeting is scheduled during the traditional lunch or breakfast hour. The meeting/session must continue during the meal time and the employees are required to remain on site; group meetings must last at least four hours for consideration. Meals scheduled directly before or after the session may not meet be reimbursable. (UGA policy, section 4.1; USG policy:

  • When employees are required to remain on site for a period that continues during a meal period, food purchases may be allowed.  For instance, Parking Monitors on game days must remain at their remote posts for the span of time when the lot is being monitored.  Boxed Meals are allowable purchases for these staff members. Please refer to the policy mentioned above for reference and clarity.

  • If you determine you may purchase food for your event/session, gather any agenda/flyer/announcement (email, web, printed) to attach to your request for payment, along with your receipt. You will need to provide the business purpose and a list of attendees (in most cases).

  • Always obtain prior departmental approval, as well as confirming you have funds budgeted for the event. Formal approval documents are required depending on your event and may be found in Food Reference Chart.

  • The accounts codes considered appropriate for purchasing catering/food items:
    • 714100 -  Supplies and Materials
    • 714116 - S&M-Entertainment/Unallowable – this is for meals/food charged specifically to restricted funds only for Business Related Entertainment purposes.
    • 727111 - Conferences & Workshops
    • 727198 - Oper Exp Rel Non-cash Gifts
    • 727500 – Program Related Meals
    • 727710 – Group Meals – Employees
    • 727720 – Group Meals – Non-Employees
    • 727730 – Group Meals – Students
Policy and Other Requirements

For training on paying for Campus Catering services:

If you have a Foundation account and have questions regarding your event and processing payment:

Questions concerning specific chart strings or accounts that may be used:


Contributed by Lisa Catanese, Blake Waldrop

Last updated 05/17/2021


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Article ID: 154126
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