The Commonwealth establishes maximum spending amounts for business meals. These meal amounts are found on the Business Meal and Food Approval Form, which is required to be completed and approved prior to:
- The meal/food purchase
- The order being placed (for example, orders placed at Sodexo)
- Food on Travel – Food expenses that do not involve an overnight stay are not reimbursable. To be reimbursed for meals while on overnight travel, see the Per Diem section under Travel.
- Not for Human Consumption – If food is purchased for non-humans, such as for lab animals, the BMF is NOT required; however, for auditing purposes, the reason for the food purchase must be documented on the receipt.
- Stage Prop – If food is used as a stage prop, such as in Theatre for a performance, the BMF is NOT required; however, for auditing purposes, the reason for the food purchase must be documented on the receipt.
Business Meal Requirements
- The reason for the meal/food purchase involves a substantive and bona fide business discussing official state business that is documented on the Business Meal and Approval Form.
- The meal should include a non-UMW employee. Meals for family members, significant others, etc. are NOT allowable.
- The President or designated signer approves a completed Business Meal and Food Approval Form. NOTE the approval date should demonstrate the approval was done in advance. For ORDERED items, such as with catering, the approval date MUST be PRIOR to the ORDER date.
- A list of ALL persons by name involved MUST be included on this form. If the meal or function is open to the campus or a specific group, identify the group name and include an approximate number.
- An ORIGINAL, ITEMIZED receipt showing all items purchased for the meal is provided. (Credit card slips with only a total are NOT acceptable.)
- Special Offers/Discounts – Some area food establishments offer discounts or special offers to members of the UMW community. Please inquire with the establishment before placing your order to take advantage of any special offers or discounts.
Business Meal Restrictions
- Alcohol – The University of Mary Washington will not pay for alcohol, and if alcohol is served, you should ask for it to be on a separate bill.
- Waivers – If food is purchased from an offsite vendor for a meal/event that is held ON a UMW property (including James Monroe Museum, Belmont, etc.), a waiver may be required in order to comply with the current UMW Food Services Contract. Completing the Business Meal and Food Approval Form will help determine requirements and provides a link to the waiver request as needed. Click Waiver Request for a direct link to the waiver request form. Also, please contact Procurement Services Department for additional requirements.
- Tips & Delivery Costs – NO MORE THAN 20% of the *total bill, excluding alcohol are allowed as long as the final total does not exceed the allowable rate shown on the Business Meal and Food Approval Form. *Total bill is defined as food, non-alcoholic drinks, and taxes on these items.
How to Pay for Meals/Food and Catering
Please complete the Business Meal and Food Approval Form to determine the method of payment to be used for food purchases, including Sodexo. If it is determined that a UMW Finance Card is needed for payment, please follow the steps below on securing a card for payment. If using 8 Funds to pay for a meal, contact AP for additional information.
Please use this document as a Helpful Training Tool.
Catering from Sodexo may be ordered through CaterTrax.
Required to be completed and approved prior to the meal/food purchase. (If having difficulty opening form, right click to Save As on your computer and then open using Adobe. Always use the website for each form to ensure latest version. Contact the UMW Help Desk if you experience difficulty opening the form.)
Securing a UMW Finance Card for Business Meal/Food Payment
To use the UMW Finance Card to pay for a Business Meal, follow these procedures.
- Complete a Business Meal and Food Approval Form (BMF) with appropriate signatures.
- Contact the Cashier’s Office to coordinate reservation of a UMW Finance Card.
- Submit the completed BMF to the Cashier to obtain a card.
- After you have made your purchase(s), IMMEDIATELY return the UMW Finance Card and all original, detailed, itemized receipts to the Cashier.
Unallowable Expenses on the UMW Finance Card
The Cashier will review charges on-line to reconcile charges made on the Card and receipts for all transactions during the time you had the Card checked out.
- Alcohol or Excess Charges – If charges contain alcohol or exceeds the allowable rates, you will be asked to deposit the overage immediately to UMW at the Cashier’s office in Lee Hall.
- No Receipt -If you fail to produce a receipt for a charge on the Card, you will be asked to make a deposit to UMW for the charge. The Cashier will provide you a receipt and will attach a copy of the receipt to the paperwork to show the overage was paid by you.
- Disputes – Any disputes will be handled with the Accounts Payable Manager or Associate Vice President for Finance and Controller.
- Refusal to Pay – If you refuse to repay UMW for an inappropriate expense, Accounts Payable will file to have the money withheld from your paycheck. Also, privileges to use this card will be revoked.
Final Review and Approval of UMW Finance Card Purchases
The Cashier submits all forms and receipts to the Associate Vice President for Finance for review, approval, and sign-off in WORKS. The Associate Vice President for Finance will then forward the paperwork to the Accounts Payable Office. If the Associate Vice President of Finance or the Accounts Payable department finds any unallowable expenses, Accounts Payable will ask you to deposit money at the Cashier’s Office in Lee Hall. Accounts Payable will attach the receipt of your repayment/deposit to the credit card statement as proof of money deposited. If you refuse to deposit the money, Accounts Payable Accounts Payable will file to have the money withheld from your paycheck. Also, privileges to use this card will be revoked.
Meals for Job Candidates
When using the UMW Finance Card for meals that involve job candidates and multiple meals, please contact email@example.com.
Snack-Oriented Business Meals (Not breakfast, lunch or dinner)
Snack-oriented events, such as Residence Life ice cream socials and art gallery openings, which support the mission of the institution are recognized as allowed meals. They are categorized under the state per diem regulations allowance based upon the time of day of the event. Please complete the Business Meal and Food Approval Form to determine the method of payment to be used for food purchases of such snack oriented events.
UMW uses the time table below based upon a generally accepted business practice of restaurants to determine the per diem allowance.
Breakfast: up until 11:00 a.m.
Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dinner: 3:30 p.m. – until
There is a coffee break at 10:00am, so the coffee break would fall under the breakfast portion of the per diem. It would not be allowed under the lunch per diem. If the break happened at 11, we would allow it under the lunch per diem. If the ice cream social takes place at 4 pm, we would allow it under the dinner portion of the per diem. If the ice cream social is at 2pm, we would allow it under the lunch per diem.
Sample itinerary below is a situation where meals are provide all day.
7:00 am Breakfast
10:00 am Coffee Break
3:00 pm Break
6:30 pm Dinner
This is the UMW allowable per diem as related to the sample itinerary above.
- ONE breakfast per diem would be allowed for the breakfast AND 10:00am coffee break COMBINED.
- ONE lunch per diem would be allowed for the lunch AND the 3:00pm break COMBINED.
- One dinner per diem would be allowed for dinner.
Call the Accounts Payable Manager at 654-1226 with questions.
*The Athletic Meal Money Form is an acceptable substitute for athletic teams.