Skip to Main Content

Accounts Payable

You are in the main content


Food and Beverage Procedures

Purpose

The procedures provided herein apply to all James Madison University organizations, faculty, staff, students and all organizations and individuals that intend to provide food and/or beverages and any related services to JMU personnel (faculty and staff), students, or their guests at university expense.

There are limited circumstances in which it is considered appropriate to provide food and beverages to personnel who are not in travel status.

These procedures were created to provide guidance when using state funds to purchase food and beverages for official university business. Purchases from any university account (including E & G, Auxiliary, Local, and Grant funds) are subject to these guidelines. Purchases for food and beverages include, but are not limited to, business meals, catered events, meal tickets, finger foods, party platters, and refreshment breaks.


Appropriate Food and Beverages Functions

The functions or events at which it is considered appropriate for food and beverages to be served to University personnel are limited to the following:

  • Official Business Function: Food and beverages may be provided at business meetings that involve substantive and bona fide business discussions with an outside party or parties in attendance. The primary beneficiaries of such functions are the non-JMU employees. Meals at which interview candidates are hosted are included in this category. Additionally, there are campus-wide and/or departmental activities where it may be appropriate for food and beverages to be provided, such as annual school start-up planning meetings and mission-related program review and focus group sessions.
  • Internal Training Function: Food and beverages may be provided to participants of a formal training session when business is conducted through the time of the meal and the training session lasts for a minimum of two hours. The determination of whether a departmental retreat is an appropriate internal training function at which food and beverages may be provided will require consideration of the factors surrounding the event. Departmental retreats must be conducted primarily as training functions, are at least two hours in length, and do not occur more frequently than once per semester. The type of training provided will depend on the particular department involved. In order to limit expenditures for rental facilities, retreats should be held at properties owned or leased by JMU. Retreats held at off campus locations require advance written approval - Departmental Off Campus Authorization Form. University employees are the primary beneficiaries at such events
  • Student Academic Function: Food and beverages may be provided at student functions that contribute to the academic mission of the University. Current and prospective students are the primary beneficiaries at such events. Food and beverages provided at commencement or annual award ceremonies are examples of this category.  Mission-related program review and focus group sessions are examples.
  • Student Programming/Club Function: Food and beverages may be provided at student programming/club functions that contribute to student engagement and support the mission of the University. Current students are the primary beneficiaries of such events. Food and beverages provided at residence hall programs or club programming events sponsored by student activities fees are examples of this category.

Requirements and Limitations

This procedure established the following requirements and limitations regarding appropriate expenditures for food and beverages:

  1. Food and beverages may be provided only at functions or events that meet the criteria listed in the above section of this procedure.
  2. For official business functions, the purpose/business reason must be included on the Business Meal Certification Form ( BMCF) to verify the JMU employee is acting as an official representative of the university and would be exempt from tax reportable income for the cost of the meal. A listing of the names and organizational affiliations of each person in attendance at events at which food and beverages are provided must also be listed on the BMCF to support payment. If a listing is impractical to provide, a written explanation to that effect must be submitted with the BMCF.
  3. Food and beverages may be provided at official business meetings held during normal work hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Breakfast and dinner meals are generally not considered to be part of an employee's normal workday. A detailed justification is required for meals outside of normal business hours.
  4. Refreshments may be provided at official business functions. Food and beverages should not be provided at regularly scheduled or routine meetings (examples include: staff, division, or department meetings).
  5. The actual cost per person for food and beverages, including any related service fees or gratuities, may not exceed the per diem amount allowed for business meals as established under JMU Travel Regulations. These meal rates are available at the Finance Procedures Manual - Section 4215 (M&IE Rate Tables) . With sufficient justification and the approving authority, meal expenditures may be authorized up to 150% of the applicable per diem meal rate.
  6. Internal training retreats where food and beverages are served should include a description of the type of training provided as documentation to support the expenditures.
  7. Reimbursement requests if an employee pays for official business meals must be submitted on a Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher along with the original itemized receipt.
  8. Alcoholic beverages may not be provided at University expense.

Catering and Dining Services

JMU has a contract with Aramark to provide catering and dining services. Departments must utilize JMU’s Catering and Dining Services unless permission to use an outside vendor is obtained in advance of the event from Catering and Dining Services. When using JMU’s Catering and Dining Services to provide food and beverages, a BMCF must be completed for each event and maintained along with the contract in the department’s office for future audits. The only exception to this is if/when Aramark exercises its right of refusal to provide food/beverage and grants permission to the department to go off-campus. The department must maintain documentation of the authorization from Aramark to go off-campus for food and beverages.

Catering and Dining Services is to be used for Official Business Functions such as annual employee recognition programs, to be conducted in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Human Resources Management Employee Recognition Program Policy No.1.20 (see Awards & Recognition on the Human Resource website - Awards) Catering and Dining Services must also be used for Internal Training Functions, Student Academic Functions, and Student Programming/Club Functions.

Business Functions that would not require Catering and Dining Services to be used are non–catered events such as department purchases for grocery items, potluck events, and events not meeting the Catering department’s minimum order of $50 per delivery.


Local Vendors

For payment processing to the vendor when purchasing food and/or beverages, a BMCF must be completed for each event and submitted with the Accounting Voucher, along with the original itemized receipt to the Accounts Payable office for payment processing. The Small Purchase Charge Card (SPCC) may only be used to purchase pizza from a local vendor. The BMCF and original itemized receipt for each event is to be maintained in the departments' office for future audits or inquiries from the Accounts Payable office. In order to purchase from a pizza vendor the restaurant exception form must be approved and on file in the Accounts Payable Office. 

Type of Business Meal Functions
Common Types of Business Meals
Typical Participants
Official Business Function Recruitment meals for prospective faculty Prospective employees
Meals with Guest Speakers Faculty and/or staff and/or non-University employees
Working meal (usually lunch) Employees required to work through meal periods for non-routine events
Annual employee group recognition programs Faculty and staff
Working meeting of committee Faculty, staff and/or community representatives
Receptions open to the Public Representatives of the state, university donors, business representatives, and/or community
Annual school start-up planning meeting Faculty & staff
Internal Training Function Steven Covey "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" Private consultants as part of training or professional development
Departmental customer service training Entire department with facilitator from JMU Training and Development Office
Student Academic Function Commencement award ceremonies Students, parents, faculty, administration
Meals with Guest Speakers Students, guest speakers, advisors
Academic enrichment activities with faculty Students & employees at student functions directly related to education of the students
Annual award functions Students and one or more of the following: faculty, staff and/or community representatives
Student recruitment activity Students and one or more of the following: faculty, staff and/or community representatives
Student Programming/Club Function Residence hall programs Students and one or more of the following: faculty, staff and/or community representatives
Multicultural/diversity programs
Personal growth programming
Community programming
University recognized club functions