Office BBQ

Are you catching that scent in the air, that faint scent of smoke from wood and charcoal?  The winter snows are melting and the ice on our grills is finally thawing.  While some of you have been bold enough to brave the chill of winter and not let it impede your quest for grilling perfection, those of us without that stern resilience to cold are feeling happy and refreshed that spring is on its way and the barbecue season can kick into full gear.

Of course many of us are, tragically, stuck inside of an office building for several hours a day while we stare longingly outside of the windows.  Don’t let that defeat you however, because having a barbecue doesn’t have to be a weekend affair.  For your next office meeting how about turning it into a meeting of meats and bring your team from the office to the grill.  Well, don’t literally put your team on the grill, there are all sorts of problems your human resource department might take issue with.

This should be a big meeting, something along the lines of an end of week wrap-up, because even the most enthusiastic of carnivores may feel the need to take a break when they are fed pulled pork every morning.  It will also take a little bit of coordination.

Menu Planning

Your planning should include nominating one person to take orders for food before the meeting.  A simple checklist will do just fine. Something along the lines of a “choose one, two, or three” or whatever type of menu checklist that can be passed around the office or mailed in an email and returned will work just fine.

Offer a couple of different choices and leave room for any comments or food sensitivities people might have.  If you have some employees with food allergies to peanuts for example, you’ll want to know this to make sure to keep any food allergy foods separated, likewise for people with other dietary restrictions for health or religious reasons.

It’s up to you whether or not you want to allow people to bring their own food, it’s probably best for your office barbecue coordinator to handle all of the food.  Mostly because different people have different ideas of what is safe for consumption, and I have heard some potluck horror stories in my time.  One person taking charge cuts down on the likelihood issues may arise.

Time for the Meating

Make sure to setup everything you need ahead of time.  Depending on your location and the size of your company you may or may not be able to accommodate hosting an event like this, so setting up a day in advance may not be an option.  If you can though, set up your equipment early and make sure that everything is in working order.

Before the appointed time make sure that everything else you will need is out and ready.  Your grill or other cookware is heating up, the meats are cooking, the drinks are chilling, and all of your plates and napkins are ready.

Schedule your meeting during the workday; ideally a big meeting like this is perfect near the end of the workday.  Be respectful of the fact that your employees probably want to go home after work, so don’t have the meeting too close to the end of the workday, but it should probably be the last thing that happens as your workforce will probably be a little too distracted from the festivities to concentrate on productivity.

You’ll need to find the right time to actually deal with the issues of the meeting.  The best time is when everyone is sitting down to eat.  You may want to forego eating until you have finished addressing the meeting agenda.  With every one of your workers busy eating it will be easier to say what needs to be said without interruptions.  It will also help that you won’t have an embarrassing stain on your fancy business clothes when you address your employees.

It may not be affordable to have every meeting become a barbecue meeting but every once in a while probably won’t hurt.  Having an event like this breaks up any monotony you might experience in a workweek and providing food to your employees, and if you cooked it, goes a long way towards showing that you care about them.

Believe it or not, the small gesture of some deliciously grilled chicken in someone’s belly goes a long way towards keeping them happy and productive in your office.  Oh, and that smoky smell of meats is a great scent to work with!

Cassie Corbett is a writer with World Kitchen, suppliers of cookware and dinnerware sets.  Cassie loves outdoor cooking and eating burgers, and she feels that a “slider” just isn’t man enough of a meal for her.

Image courtesy of Berkeley School District