Hosted Meals (Seminars & Events)

The following documentation must accompany the request for payment to a vendor or reimbursement back to you for a meal you provide as a host of a meeting (examples - prospective job candidate, prospective graduate student, seminar speaker meals, advisory board or collaborator meeting):

  • The name, purpose, date and time (beginning/ending) of the meeting. A meeting agenda, seminar notice, or other documentation should be included and is preferred. 
  • A list of meeting participants for whom expenses are to be paid, indicating name and affiliation, i.e., institution, state agency, business, etc.
  • Original invoices/receipts itemizing the cost per meal and showing the total amount to be paid or reimbursed.
  • Justification for holding the meeting over the meal period.

Events-Meal Payment Form

For use with events that require payment/reimbursement for breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal expenses, including hosting expenses. Please use for all payment mechanisms (requisitions, expense reports, PIRs, purchasing cards).

Events-Participant List

Formatted participant list for use with event forms or payment/reimbursement mechanism for meals, refreshments, reception costs where a list of participants is required for payment.


Meal Policy, Maximums and EligibilityMeals with General Public in AttendancePayment Mechanisms


Meal Policy, Maximums and Eligibility

The Accounting Services Meals Policy details the rules, maximums and eligibility for meals.  For meals hosted in Biochemistry the listed In-State maximums must be followed. Meal reimbursements become more complicated if you are seeking reimbursement for an amount over per diem or for alcohol served with the meal. Expenses for meals (and alcohol) over per diem can only be paid from a UW Foundation gift account. The maximum you can get reimbursed for any one meal is $75/person.

Campus catering policies must be followed for both meals on and off-campus where food is being served.  Please see the Catering Policy Overview for more information on campus catering policies. Off-campus catering vendors must provide an insurance certificate with high-risk insurance limits.

Food purchased and prepared by University staff or prepared food (pre-packaged box lunches, sandwiches, cheese trays, pizza, cookies, fruit or similar items) purchased from a licensed restaurant and/or catering operation and served by university staff on property owned or leased by the University is not considered catered and does not require the high-risk insurance. Prepared food may be delivered by the vendor or picked up at the vendor's site by university staff.

Note: Purchasing the ingredients for a meal, prepared by an individual who is not a licensed restaurant and/or catering operation, is not reimbursable through the University, since there is no way to determine the qualifications of the cook nor the sanitation of the kitchen. Events must utilize prepackaged foods, a licensed restaurant, and/or catering operation.


Meals with General Public in Attendance

A reception is defined as a gathering of individuals associated with a UW sponsored event that provides the opportunity for interaction in a setting that is not purely social in nature. Unlike a business meeting, a reception may not have a specific agenda or timeframe. Like a business meeting, the purpose must be related to or promote the mission of the hosting department.

For receptions held related to seminar and events for general public attendance (e.g. Named Lecture receptions, poster sessions, general department receptions), please provide:

  • Events-Meals/Receptions for the General Public
  • For use with UW Madison sponsored events for meal/reception expenses for general public attendance. Please use for all payment mechanisms (requisitions, expense reports, PIRs, purchasing cards).
  • General notice or announcement of the event

Payment Mechanisms

The following payment mechanisms can be used to purchase meals and reception refreshments:

  • Procards - For purchases under $5,000
  • External Requisitions - Use when over $5,000 or vendor does not accept procards. Please work with Purchasing to complete these transactions.
  • Payment to Individual Report - PIRS - For payments to individuals, non-UW employees and non-corporations.
  • Personal Funds - If you are planning to do an Expense Reimbursement with the e-reimbursement system.