Plan a Business Meal

As an Agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, George Mason University has a public obligation to ensure that all expenditures are necessary and reasonable and that they support the mission of the university. As such, state rules prohibit expenditures for employee personal expenses, including meals, snacks, entertainment, and refreshments. There are limited circumstances in which it is considered appropriate to provide food and beverages to personnel who are not in travel status. Food/Beverage may not be provided at regularly scheduled or routine meetings (i.e., monthly staff meeting, quarterly unit meeting) or as a way to boost morale or promote goodwill among employees. Alcohol and Flowers are prohibited. Participant Funded events, where the food/beverage costs are paid solely from participant fees (i.e., registration fee) are not subject to the policy.

For official business purposes there are three basic types of food purchases that occur at Mason:

  1. Catering is the activity of providing food and drink for a group of people, typically with services such as setup, staffing, and cleanup included. Catering must be billed directly to the university and is not a reimbursable expense.
  2. Business meals are defined as a meal provided at a commercial dining establishment open to the general public, or at a university location as long as no service other than delivery/pickup is provided. A business meal may occur in travel or non-travel status.
  3. Supplies/Food and Drink is the purchase of food, drink and supplies that does not include any vendor-provided services.

Per Diem Limits

All food and beverage purchases are limited to the per meal dollar maximum for the location (which includes applicable tax and tips – up to 20% – or service fee). Maximum amounts per person are limited to one-and-a-half times the per diem meal allowances for travel. All rates are available on the GSA Per Diem webpage. Local area rates are listed below.

October 1, 2018 – Present
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

List of Attendees

A listing of the names and organizational affiliations of each person in attendance is required for all events. If a listing is impractical to provide, a written explanation must be submitted. For example “Attendees list impractical – Student focused open event within per diem.”

Click here to view the Food and Beverage Procedures

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