Food and beverage

When selecting a caterer for an on-campus event, make sure you use a caterer from the list of Approved Caterers, found online.

Keep in mind if the cost of food for your function exceeds $40/person, including tax and gratuity, you need to get Dean’s approval.

Check with your caterer on the setup equipment they will provide (e.g., banquet tables for the food, linen for the tables, décor for the banquet table, plates (what kind), glasses (what kind), napkins (paper or linen), plastic utensils or silverware. It is also important to know how the food will be served.

A caterer can often provide you with upgraded linen, plates, glassware and other items needed for your event. This can be very helpful and makes one less thing you have to worry about. Make sure you are getting a fair price or you can get the same items from a rental company, see list of rental companies under tent and event rental companies on Sunmart.

Make sure you use a caterer that can be accommodating to dietary needs. The day of the event make sure you know the name of the persons with dietary needs and inform the serving staff of the need where the person is seated and how they can identify him/her.

Temporary Food Establishment Permit
If your event is open to the general public or has attendees other than faculty, staff or students at the university you will have to apply for Temporary Food Establishment Permit.  The only exception for this is when you use ASU in-house caterers (Aramark, Atlasta and Sodexo).

Donated Food or Special Menu Item
If you expect to receive food donations or require a special menu item that cannot be provided by a company on the Approved Food Providers List, a Food Waiver Request must be completed and submitted to:

ASU Campus Health Services
Veronica Oros
PO Box 872104
Tempe, AZ 85287-2104

Food Waiver Request needs to be submitted a minimum of 14 days prior to the event date. The request will be reviewed and then forwarded to Student Development and the Memorial Union administrative office for final approval.

In addition, you need to comply with the university insurance requirements when preparing and serving donated foods for special events. Food permit and health information can be found at

When using a new caterer or planning a high profile event, ask for a tasting of possible menu options. You might prefer the chicken on one dish but the vegetables on another. This allows you to select the best menu and presentation possible.

Business Meals Form
You need to submit a Business Meals Form to your accounts payable person (Office Specialist, Senior Accountant or Accountant Associate) with any food or beverage request for payment, include separate list of attendees if you have more guests than can be listed on the form.

Read your contract to see when your guarantee deadlines are for the final number. This is the number you will be billed for regardless of if only half the people show up. Sometimes this is one week out, other times it might be 72 hours before the event date. Make sure your RSVP date is at least two days prior to the earliest guarantee date. Check with the caterers on how much they “over seat.” This means how much extra food or seats they provide. The norm is between three to five percent. Don’t forget to account for those that don’t RSVP and subtract potential no shows. When making changes to your estimated number, remember to change your linen, centerpieces, tables and chairs accordingly.

Approval Signature for Food and Beverage
Any banquet ticket or conference authorization must be signed by an ASU employee if paid from an ASU account, even if the responsibility of the conference arrangements is shared by non-ASU individuals or entity.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Non-alcoholic beverages can be served at all functions. Your caterer can provide these for you.

Alcoholic Beverages
If you have special events at which the primary attendances are donors/benefactors to the university and if the event does not have student attendance you may be able to serve alcoholic beverages. You need to apply for and be approved for Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages on Campus before any purchase of alcohol can take place.  Before you apply for a permit read the following Insurance requirements to be familiar with your liability.

You have to apply for the permit at least two weeks before the event and it requires the signature of Engineering Dean or Lynn Carpenter. You can find the permit online; after it is filled out and signed, fax it to 480-965-2111 or e-mailed to insurance services. ASU Insurance Services will mail the approved permit back to you if all is in order.

In order to serve alcohol, you must also employ a bartender from a university approved service.  For the latest list contact Insurance Services at 480-727-9669. Some bartending services are unable to purchase the alcohol for you. You can either get your alcohol through services that your caterer recommends, or you can purchase the alcohol from a store either for reimbursement or with approved purchasing card that is linked to a Foundation Account.

You can never purchase alcohol, a bartending service or rent bar-ware or equipment with ASU funds (i.e. on a state or local accounts).

Food and non-alcoholic beverages such as water and coffee must always be served at an event with alcohol.

Additional Liquor License Needed
If the alcohol at your event is donated or if you are charging fee for it (by having a cash bar or charging admission), or your event is outside, you need additional specialized permits from City and State.  This is very time consuming and cannot be done last minute.  If you are not sure if your event requires additional permits contact Police Department 480-965-6589.

Start the process no less than eight weeks before the event. First get the ASU permit. Take that along with a special event liquor license application to the City of Tempe Recreation Department (2nd floor Tempe Library, Southern and Rural). The permit will be discussed in a meeting by the City Event Council. You need to attend this meeting. The Event Council might ask you for an insurance certificate from the vendors as well as security plans for the event.

Once you have been approved you will have to pay a fee to the City of Tempe and will get your signed paperwork back. Your next step is to apply for a State Liquor Permit. Take the paperwork that you received from the City of Tempe to the State Liquor Board office on 8th Avenue and Washington. You pay the state fee for your liquor license. After you get the state permit you have to fax it to City of Tempe to Jodie Garth 480-350-5184. They will then fax you the Tempe liquor license. All three licenses from ASU, the City of Tempe and the state have to be displayed at the place where you are serving the alcohol.

You always need to have security on the premises and fenced off area where the alcohol is served and consumed on campus.

The following locations on campus already have a liquor license

for updated list contact Insurance Services

Borrow your event décor!

The Fulton Engineering Dean’s office events team has linens and décor items available for loan to others in Engineering.

Engineering Events Inventory