Insights

Compliant Catering for U.S. In-Office Speaker Programs

Although in-office speaker programs are not new, COVID-19 has put a new emphasis on them. With limitations on in-person gatherings, virtual in-office programs are a viable alternative. And at BCD M&E, we've seen a spike in clients selecting this option to deliver their programs.

Until we're able to meet again, virtual in-office speaker programs can be a short-term solution. Although an absence of human connection may be apparent, it still allows your subject matter expert to present material for an HCP audience at their office.

In-office speaker program conference room set-up | Global agency, BCD Meetings & Events

With in-office programs more frequent than ever, the demand has arguably never been greater for vendors which provide quality modest meals, compliant to PhRMA code and organizational policies.

Finding the right vendor for your in-office program is crucial. Our Speaker Bureau Management team are experts in this area. This specialized group of meeting planners are knowledgeable consultants who coordinate thousands of pharmaceutical speaker programs each year and understand the need for compliance. Services include vendor sourcing and contracting, along with post-program reconciliation and transfer of value reporting. Therefore, modest and compliant meetings are their forte.

Read our team's list of top US venues for out of office programs

Below, our team has crafted a comprehensive list of both national chains and bespoke vendors who offer quality, variety and compliant menu choices. 

recommended Catering for U.S.
In-Office Speaker Programs

National (U.S.) 

  • Chick-Fil-A - A great option for lunch and breakfast gatherings.
  • Moe’s - Consistent food quality and provides management team which ensures quick resolutions to any issues. 
  • Corner Bakery Café – Features a wide variety of hot and cold breakfast items along with soups, salads, sandwiches and sides for lunch or dinner.
  • Jason’s Deli – Plenty of healthy options, including choices for vegans and gluten sensitive attendees. They also have an entire section of their catering menu dedicated to boxed meals.
  • Q’doba – Assortment of boxed meals in addition to their traditional “hot bar” menu. They do breakfast too, which can include catered breakfast burritos and beverages.
  • Olive Garden – Brings their traditional Italian flare to the conference table with their catering options.
  • Panera Bread – You can order individual meals or catered spreads that include all the soup, salad and sandwich options Panera is known for. If you are searching for a breakfast option their breakfast sandwiches and baked egg souffles are consistently good.
  • Noodles & Company – Affordable options with tasty gluten free and vegetarian options in addition to traditional pasta dishes. With 459 Noodles & Company locations in the U.S. it is a great option for salads, pasta and more.
  • Zoe’s Kitchen – There are over 250 Zoe’s Kitchen restaurants across the country which focus on fresh, Mediterranean flavors with each bite. Zoe’s offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop – A reliable caterer offering quality sandwiches, soups and sides.

Catered sandwich tray for in-office speaker program | Global agency, BCD Meetings & Events

Bespoke or local catering options

  • ezCater - Access to many local restaurants that cater. Simply search by your meeting address and they will instantly provide options to choose from. They also offer detailed receipts, perfect for reconciliation.
  • Pappadeaux – If you are planning a program in the Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston or San Antonio, Texas area, Pappadeaux is worth considering. They offer Louisiana style fare and American favorites.
  • The Office Express – In Arizona or California, The Office Express might be a great one-stop-shop for selecting from a large number of local restaurants available to cater your meeting. Just like ezCater, you can search for options by delivery address.
  • Columbia Restaurant – If you are planning a meeting in St. Augustine, Orlando, Tampa or Sarasota, Columbia Restaurant is a solid option. Featuring traditional Spanish fare, they offer tapas, ensaladas, sopas, sandwiches and more.

Compliance is more than just modest meals

It is important to consistently apply compliance rules for in-office programs, even when pharmaceutical representatives must facilitate the meeting virtually. You can achieve this through clear communication with the provider’s office. Often, when the sales representative is unable to participate in person, the office manager will be willing to coordinate the meeting and the completion and submission of compliance documentation. You should provide the office sign-in sheets in advance of the meeting, preferably with information about the attendees pre-populated. Participants must still sign in to verify attendance, confirm they’ve accepted the meal and provide credentials. As with a live out-of-office meeting, sign-in sheets should be faxed or scanned and emailed back within 24-48 hours of the end of the meeting. Tightly managing the process will ensure that core compliance documentation is available in the event of an audit or CMS reporting dispute.

Change is Coming: Preparation Tips for 2022 U.S. Reporting

While we love small business and want to support them, especially in tough economic times, we have to offer a word of caution about some smaller establishments. One of the critical components of a compliant meeting is keeping accurate books and records. Some smaller operations simply are not equipped to provide the kind of documentation needed to be compliant. This becomes especially apparent when you try to follow up post program for more detailed invoices and receipts. If you'd like to consider using a small or local caterer, we recommend confirming that they're able to provide a detailed and itemized receipt, asking about their receipt practices and menu options before placing an order.

Laura Konwinski

Written by Laura Konwinski

Senior Director, Global Compliance, BCD Meetings & Events

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