Plan a Business Meal

Commonwealth of Virginia rules generally prohibit the use of state funds to purchase food and beverages for employees. Mason has a public obligation to ensure that all expenditures are essential and reasonable and in support of the university mission. As such, state rules prohibit the use of state funds for employee personal expenses, including meals, snacks and refreshments. Please visit, University Policy 2102, Food and Beverage Expenditures, to review the policy for all George Mason University employees, students, organizations and individuals.

There are three functions where it is considered appropriate for food and beverage to be served to university personnel. Business meals will typically take place in the local area. Reimbursement for business meals occurring during overnight travel are limited – see Travel Manual for additional guidance.

Business Function

Food and beverage may be provided at business meetings that involve substantive and bona fide business discussions between Mason and non-Mason individuals. The primary beneficiaries of such functions are the non-Mason attendees.  Lunch is generally the only approved business meal for a full-day employee training. Written justification is required when circumstances warrant payment for additional food or beverage service. *Business meals are not an allowable charge on a federally sponsored fund. 

The ratio of Mason to non-Mason attendees must be appropriate to the circumstances of the event.

Example: High Ratio Appropriate Example: Low Ratio Appropriate
  • Lunch as part of the interview process with a candidate for a dean position.
  • 5 Mason individuals (other deans, directors, vice president, etc.) to 1 non-Mason individual *this ratio would be considered appropriate and consistent with current recruitment practices at other public universities
  • Dinner with a guest speaker after the speaker has given a presentation
  • 2 Mason individuals (host, director) to 1 non-Mason individuals *a higher ratio would be difficult to support in a public scrutiny test

Internal Training Functions

Food and beverage may be provided to participants in a formal training session that lasts all day, where business is being conducted during the meal time. Regularly scheduled, routine or planning meetings DO NOT qualify for food and beverage expenditures. Only beverages may be provided at a formal training sessions that lasts at least half a day. For additional information on Training Retreats please see the Food and Beverage Manual.

Per Diem Maximums

Maximum amounts per person are limited to one-and-a-half times the per diem meal allowances for travel. Per person maximums include food/beverage, taxes, gratuities and service fees. Room rental, linen rental and service ware charges are not included in the per diem rate.

October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2020
Washington Metro (Arlington/Fairfax)
Prince William County (SciTech)
Loudoun County
Breakfast – $27 Breakfast – $19.50 Breakfast – $21.00
Lunch – $28.50 Lunch – $21.00 Lunch – $24.00
Dinner – $51.00 Dinner – $34.50 Dinner – $39.00

Click here for Sodexo Catering (on-campus provider)

Click here for all other catering and reimbursement procedures

For Questions: