Food and Beverage Overview

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.

The following expenditures are prohibited for all events (including Exempt Functions)

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Flowers (except for commencement ceremonies and specific Admissions events)
  • Food/beverage for internal planning, regularly scheduled or routine meetings
  • Food/beverage as a way to boost morale or promote goodwill

The following functions are Exempt from Policy 2102 requirements (except as noted above). Please see the Food and Beverage Exception Quick Guide for exempt category  purchasing requirements.

Exempt Functions

  • 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

Authorized Functions

The six functions where it is considered appropriate for food and beverage to be served to university personnel are listed below with an explanation for each function. When purchasing food and/or beverages for an authorized function, complete the Food and Beverage Authorization and Payment Form to document approval with Policy 2102. Click here for  the Food and Beverage Form Instructions.

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 Purchasing Procedures

Mason’s on-campus dining services provider, Sodexo, is the preferred caterer. The process and procedure for Sodexo catering may be found at Sodexo-catered functions.


Off-Campus Caterers

An approved caterer must be used for all events. Catering is defined as food that is brought to campus by a vendor and then prepared and/or served on premises. 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.

Note: If food is being picked up from an establishment and brought to campus OR if food is being delivered (already cooked, prepared and packaged) by a vendor, then it is not considered ‘catering’ and you DO NOT have to utilize an Approved Caterer.

*Procedures for Exempt functions (as noted at the top of this page) may be found on the Food and Beverage Exception Quick Guide.

List of Attendees

A listing of the names and organizational affiliations of each person in attendance is required for Authorized events (except Student Club functions) and must be submitted as documentation to support the purchase of food and beverage. If a listing is impractical to provide, a written explanation must be submitted.

Required Approvals

All expenditures for food and beverages must be approved by the department Fund/Org Approver.

Step by Step Procedures for Authorized Functions

The purchasing procedures vary by event type and payment method. Follow the corresponding procedures to complete a food and/or beverage purchase for an Authorized function. A quick reference for Authorized functions is provided on the Food and Beverage Checklists.

Vendor Will Invoice (under $2,000)

  1. Complete a Food and Beverage Authorization and Payment Form for “Authorization only and payment will be made through eVA Purchase Order” and obtain required approvals.
  2. Initiate a purchase requisition in eVA. Attach the approved Food and Beverage form, vendor quote, and list of attendees (if available) *an updated attendee list may be attached after the event.
  3. Once the eVA requistion is approved, submit a copy of the eVA Purchase Order (EP#) to the vendor before the event. You may also need to provided a copy of the EP# to the delivery person when the order is delivered.
  4. After the event, login to eVA and electronically receive the order. eVA Receiving Guide. Update the attendee list (if required).
  5. Forward the vendor invoice to Accounts Payable with the EP# noted on the invoice.

Pay Vendor with a P-Card (under $2,000)

The standard P-Card may be used to purchase food and beverage items at grocery (Giant, Safeway, etc.) or general merchandise stores that carry food (Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) without a “lift”. Dedicated food establishments (restaurants, take-out, etc.) may still require a “lift” based on credit card merchant restrictions.

  1. Complete a Food and Beverage Authorization and Payment Form for “Authorization only and request for P-Card Waiver to purchase food and beverage” and obtain required approvals.
    1. Email the Food and Beverage form to pcardadm@gmu.edu if a “lift” is required for a dedicated food establishment. It may take up to 2 days to receive the “lift”.
  2. Once the transaction is posted to Bank of America Works, allocate the transactions, attach the approved Food and Beverage form and attendee list, provide a description of the event in the “Comments” section, and then sign off on the transaction.

Reimbursement to an Individual (under $2,000)

  1. Complete a Food and Beverage Authorization and Payment Form for “Request for Reimbursement to Payee” and obtain required approvals*.
  2. After the event, submit the approved Food and Beverage form, list of attendees (if required) and original itemized receipt(s) to Accounts Payable at MSN 3C1. In an extenuating circumstance, where an itemized receipt is unobtainable, an explanation to that effect and a statement that no alcoholic beverages were included must be submitted and is subject to approval by the Director of Accounts Payable.

*If the person requesting reimbursement is the fund/org Approver, his or her supervisor must approve the form.
Obtaining approval prior to the event eliminates the risk of paying for an unallowable event that cannot be reimbursed.

All Events Over $2,000

  1. Complete a Food and Beverage Authorization and Payment Form for “Authorization only and payment will be made through eVA Purchase Order” and obtain required approvals.
  2. Initiate a purchase requisition in eVA. Attach the approved Food and Beverage form, vendor quote, and list of attendees (if available) *an updated attendee list may be attached after the event.
  3. A Purchasing Office Buyer will issue the purchase order (EP#) to the vendor.
  4. If the vendor invoice is received by the hosting department, it should be forwarded to Accounts Payable with the appropriate EP# noted.

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

The Commonwealth of Virginia regulations impose certain restrictions on the use of university funds. Per person amounts for food and beverages expenditures are limited to amounts fifty- percent greater than the individual meal components in the travel per diem allowances. The university is prohibited from paying for alcohol and flowers (except for commencement ceremonies and limited specific Admissions events). Departments hosting events that include alcohol, flowers, or per person expenditures in excess of the per diem allowance must make arrangements with the vendor for separate invoices to be sent to sponsors outside the University to pay for these items.