Open Source Bridge/Roles/Catering Coordination

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This role coordinates food and beverages for all meals during the conference, including evening happy hour and off-site party.

The role could be full-filled by one or two people.

This is one of our most important and self-directed roles. You need the ability to keep track of details and work with multiple vendors and must be comfortable delegating to volunteers.


  • Decide vendors and dates needed.
  • Work with vendor to determine what they will be serving (menu) and what equipment and materials they will provide.
  • Create estimated budget for food and beverage.
  • Arrange date and time for each vendor to deliver or for us to pick up catering order.
  • Coordinate catering activities during the conference: make sure food arrives and is served on-time, supervise and direct catering volunteers, adjust catering orders as needed.


  • All food for conference will be vegetarian and mostly vegan, with gluten-free options available at every meal.
  • Food should be high quality and nutritious whenever possible.
  • Tuesday through Thursday meals include: light breakfast, buffet lunch, morning and afternoon snacks.
  • Friday meals include: Donuts for breakfast, leftovers for morning and afternoon snacks. No lunch served (encourage attendees to go to food carts).
  • We minimize waste as much as possible and donate left over food to Eliot Center family shelter.
  • All-day beverage service includes tea, coffee and water. This is refreshed by Eliot Center staff.
  • Lunch beverage service includes soda and water.
  • Evening beverage service includes beer, cider, wine and sufficient non-alcoholic drinks.
  • At the Eliot Center, we use volunteer bartenders under the umbrella of our venue's OLCC license. These volunteers need to attend a 10-minute orientation prior to serving alcohol. No money can exchange hands while alcohol is served. This means we cannot accept donations, sell conference products, nor can volunteer bartenders accept tips.

Tasks & Timeline

  • Vendors booked 6 weeks in advance of conference

Before Conference

  • get estimates and request budget changes needed
  • select and schedule vendors
  • work with Syndicate treasurer to pay vendors on time (including deposits and final payments)
  • document each day's menu and ensure food labels are created
  • ensure OLCC requirements are met
    • for Eliot Center, we use volunteer bartenders
    • for Party, a private, licensed bartender (paid) will likely be needed
  • ensure liability insurance requirements are met (usually by asking Syndicate board to add venues as additional insured)
  • accommodate participant food needs or restrictions in consultation with registration coordinator to

During Conference

  • Set up light breakfast
    • usually food for breakfast is staged in Atrium on 1-2 tables
    • Eliot Center provides tea, coffee and water
  • Set up Morning Snack
    • staged in Atrium
    • is this leftovers from breakfast?
  • Set up lunch (have all serving utensils ready!) on two 2-sided tables for lunch, have labels and drinks ready ready, be sure there are plates, silverware, napkins, water, cups, soda, ice, coolers, etc.
    • Eliot Center staff is available to help and provides: utensils, etc
    • usually staged in Fuller hall (checkerboard room)
    • you may want to create lanes with blue tap
  • Afternoon snack
    • staged in atrium
    • usually a sweet like cookies
  • Happy hour (one evening only)
    • staged in Atrium (hearty snacks to satisfy OLCC) and Courtyard (beverage)
  • other
    • Pay vendors as needed

Note: Hacker lounge coordinator is responsible for staging hacker lounge snacks on all evenings except for happy hour evening (usually Tuesday of conference). Hacker lounge coordinator will work with you to order snacks as appropriate.

After Conference

  • update budget with final, actually costs
  • submit receipts to Syndicate treasurer
  • update documentation and best practices, particularly noting things that worked very well and things that didn't
  • ensure vendors receive final payments (by working with Syndicate treasurer)

Skills & Requirements

  • Confident communicating with vendors
  • Confident directing team of volunteers
  • Familiarity and ability with spreadsheets
  • Nice to have - understanding of dietary needs/restrictions
  • Nice to have - food handlers license
  • Must be onsite for entire conference
  • 1-3 hours a week prior to conference

Time Commitment

  • January-April: 1-2 hours / week
  • April-May: 5-6 hours / week
  • During conference: 8 hours/day (M-F during load-in and conference). Must be on-site during this time.

Note: The role could be full-filled by one or two people, splitting the pre- and during conference work between them.


  • Can select vendors for quotes, menu edits, delivery details
  • Committee should sign off on final vendor selection
  • Syndicate needs to sign off on substantial budget changes, changes to alcohol serving plan/approach