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Food Service Catering Policy

The university provides the following information to clarify the University System of Maryland and State of Maryland policy regarding the purchase of food and catering services. This policy defines allowable costs and approval procedures required to charge catering and food costs to university accounts. It applies to costs incurred at the Burkshire, or University Dining Services, or other food services. 

Payment Options for Catering:    

Allowability and Approval of Costs

University funds may be used to purchase food services, where necessary and reasonable, for university-hosted meetings, receptions and conferences, as well as meetings of campus-sanctioned (sub) committees.

    • Financial Services, University Dining Services, and the Burkshire receive the list of campus-sanctioned committees from the President's Office;
    • Catering for non-sanctioned events requires pre-approval of the department supervisor and the divisional Vice President (or designee).
    • Food Catering costs will not be paid or reimbursed for departmental meetings or social gatherings.

University Dining Services has a "right of first refusal" clause in their contract for providing all food catering service on campus. Therefore, food or catering services costing more than $100.00 must be provided by University Dining Services. If University Dining Services is unable to provide the requested service, they will issue a written waiver.

Cost of food service provided for conferences, receptions, or meetings must comply with guidelines as follows:

  1. Lunch or two breaks allowed for a minimum 4 hour meeting.
  2. One break is allowed for a minimum 2 hour meeting. The allowable cost for one break is half of the USM lunch allowance.
  3. Dinner is allowed for sanctioned or pre-approved meetings that begin or extend beyond 5 p.m.
  4. Breakfast is allowed for sanctioned meetings that begin before 9 a.m.
  5. The cost of alcoholic beverages is not allowable under any circumstances.

Note: Conferences booked at the Burkshire as "packages" are exempt from #1,2,4 since meals, breaks, and meeting rooms are included in the price per person. Food from outside sources may not be brought into the Burkshire.

Business meals (meals that are not a part of a conference, meeting, or entertaining of candidates) are allowable only to University Administrators who have prior approval by the President's Office. Cost of meals must not exceed allowances approved under USM Travel Policy.

  • See Reimbursable Meals . A list of approved persons is provided to Financial Services, University Dining Services, and the Burkshire at the beginning of each fiscal year.

If you need assistance contact the Financial Services Help Line at 410-704-5599





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