Food and Beverage Overview

Commonwealth of Virginia rules generally prohibit the use of state funds to purchase food and beverages for employees.

Food and beverage may not be provided:

  • To promote goodwill or boost morale
  • At planning meetings, regularly scheduled or routing meetings or as an incentive
  • Alcoholic beverages and flowers may not be purchased at University expense

University Policy 2102, Food and Beverage Expenditures, applies to all George Mason University faculty, staff, students, all organizations and individuals that intend to provide food and/or beverages and any related services to Mason faculty, staff, students or their guests at university expense.

The provisions of this policy do not apply to the following categories. Please see the Food and Beverage Exception Quick Guide for exempt category requirements:

  • Events or functions at which food and beverages expenses are paid solely from participant fees
  • Residence hall events that cost less than $100 per event
  • Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) pre/post game meals within per diem maximums related to home competitions
  • Student-focused events that cost less than $2,000 per event that are within per diem maximums and primarily benefit Mason prospective students, students and student athletes
  • Meals within per diem maximums provided to students who are required to be on campus when Mason meal plans are not available
  • Meals within per diem maximums provided to performers and other visitors in conjunction with contractual requirements

As an Agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mason has a public obligation to ensure that all expenditures are essential, reasonable and support the mission of the university. As such, state rules prohibit expenditures for employee personal expenses, including meals, snacks and refreshments. Policy 2102 outlines six functions where it is considered appropriate for food and beverage to be served to university personnel.

Business functionMeetings with outside parties involving business discussion. Must be appropriate ration of Mason to non-Mason attendees (Example: Meal with an interview candidate)
Student Academic functionEvents that contribute to the Mason academic mission (Example: Refreshments at commencement ceremony)
Student ClubHeld by student organizations that are funded through the umbrella process (Example: Refreshments at student club induction ceremony)
Student AthleteFunctions for recruits, qualifying traveler(s), current student athletes and athletic staff as approved by Mason’s Compliance and/or Senior Athletic Staff (Example: food for an event hosted by coach for athletes at start of season)
Internal trainingFormal training session that lasts all day and continues through a meal time. Half-day trainings are only eligible for beverages. (Example: Lunch at Faculty/Staff Enrichment Day)
Other internalUniversity recognized event and events supporting University wide initiatives. (Example: Annual University wide Holiday Party)

Maximum amounts per person are limited to one-and-a-half times the per diem meal allowances for travel. All expenditures for food and beverages require the approval of the official for the departmental fund/org to which the expenditure is being charged and approval by the Senior Approving Official (except Student Club functions). The Food and Beverage Authorization form was created to document compliance with this policy.

Washington Metro (Arlington/Fairfax)Prince William CountyLoudon County
Breakfast - $24
Lunch - $25.50
Dinner - $46.50
Breakfast - $16.50
Lunch – $18.00
Dinner - $34.50
Breakfast - $19.50
Lunch - $22.50
Dinner - $39.00

Use On-Campus Caterers

The process and procedures for Sodexo catering may be found at Sodexo-catered functions.

Use Off-Campus Caterers

An approved caterer must be used for all events. The list of approved caterers is available online at Approved Caterers. Before committing to a caterer, verify that they are on the approved list and have registered with eVA. Follow the corresponding procedures to complete food and/or beverage purchases.

Purchasing Procedures

If purchasing food and/or beverage for an exempt category (listed above) please refer to the Food and Beverage Exception Procedures

When purchasing food and/or beverage the Food and Beverages Authorization form is used to document the criteria, limitations and approvals required by the policy. The following paragraphs present detailed explanations of the procedures for completing the Food and Beverages Authorization form and additional required information, based on the type of event, amount of purchase and the vendors’ payment methods. The Food and Beverage Checklists summarize these procedures.


Events Less than $2,000 (Vendor Will Invoice) >>

Events $2,000 or Greater >>

Events Requiring Reimbursements >>

Student Clubs >>

Events which Include Alcohol, Flowers, or Amounts Exceeding State Limitations >>

Special Procedures for eVA Pizza Orders >>

Purchasing Charge Card (P-Card) >>

For Questions: