Catering Guidelines

Caterers should contact the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center’s (Higher Ed Center) Conference Services Department PRIOR to any catered event for which your company has been hired.

Catering Requirements at the Higher Ed Center

  • Company Business License
  • Department of Health Certificate to Operate a Food Establishment
  • One million dollar liability policy indicating that your company is insured

Setting Up

  • Any food and beverage services must be coordinated in advance with our scheduling department to assure timely and organized service.
  • The parking area at the back of the building will be available for drop off and loading only. No extended parking will be allowed.
  • We are a state certified Green Facility. As such, the use of china, glasses, and metal flatware is preferred.
  • No Styrofoam products or aluminum cans will be allowed.
  • The Higher Ed Staff has a limited number of place settings available for your use at no cost provided they are washed, dried and placed in an area designated by Higher Ed staff.
  • Reservations for the use of these items will be required.
  • Any breakage or missing pieces will be charged back to the caterer.
  • Buffet meals are encouraged whenever possible.
  • Biodegradable disposable products, including containers for boxed lunches are preferred.
  • Contents of box lunches should be clearly marked, either individually or with signs.
  • You are encouraged to promote the identity of your company.
  • The Higher Ed Center requires all food service tables be skirted and covered. All round banquet tables must be covered as well.
  • Linens, skirting and cloth napkins will be made available for a fee (see attached fee list).
  • All serving equipment and utensils should be clean, in good condition and not shop worn or soiled.


  • Served meals must be pre-plated in the catering kitchen. No plating can be performed in hallways or underneath the stairs.
  • When serving 20 or more boxed lunches, please keep staff at the food stations to service the event and answer any questions that may arise.
  • All beverages should be clearly identified with professional signage—no handwritten signs.
  • Coolers and bus tubs are not allowed in the event area.
  • Catering staff should regularly service the event, empty trash, clean serving area, etc. in the Grand Hall or lobby whether serving a meal or providing a buffet.
  • Work done in any meeting area should be accomplished in a quiet fashion.
  • When serving a buffet, you should plan to have one two-sided buffet line for each 75 people.
  • We recommend the pre-setting of salads, beverages and desserts.

Clean Up

  • After the meal, catering staff should remove linens from all tables in Grand Hall or other designated areas, wipe off the tables and pick up any food or trash from the floor
  • The catering staff will be responsible for removing any left-over food and service items provided by their staff to the meeting rooms at the conclusion of the meeting.
  • Higher Ed staff will direct you on the proper location for disposal of ice, leftover food or other unwanted items.
  • The catering staff is responsible for ensuring the kitchen floors are mopped and all dishes, pans, etc. are washed and placed in an area designated by Higher Ed staff after each meal. Please refer to the guide posted on the door inside the kitchen for a complete list of responsibilities.
  • After the event, the kitchen must be cleaned to the standards of the Higher Education Center. A member of the Higher Ed Center staff must inspect the kitchen prior to you leaving the building.

Catering Kitchen

  • The small catering kitchen can be used at no charge as long as cooking is kept to a minimum.
  • Ice is available in the catering kitchen at no charge.
  • Two double wide refrigerators and three single upright freezers are available.
  • Convection and warming ovens are available.
  • Two speed racks and 35 sheet pans are available.
  • On premise dishwasher available.

Appropriate Attire

  • Servers and staff should be appropriately attired in standard uniform – black pants, tuxedo shirt, bow tie, and black shoes for formal dinners. Casual services allow for more relaxed attire such as polo shirts and khakis slacks. T-shirts, ball caps, jeans, shorts, tube tops and mini-skirts are not allowed. If you have any questions about uniform dress acceptable at the Higher Ed staff, please call us.
  • The Higher Ed staff and its customers appreciate and expect a clean, well groomed appearance.


  • We are a tobacco free facility. No tobacco products are allowed inside the building. Remember that this includes all types of tobacco.
  • If your employees take a smoke break, please use the designated smoking area and put all cigarette butts in urns provided behind the building.

Linen Fees

  • 85” Square Tablecloths (Fits 5’ round tables) – $3.50 each
  • 114” Long Tablecloths – $4.00 each
  • Cloth Napkins – $.15 each
  • Skirting – $12.50 each

Catering Agreement

  • If you are a caterer and are interested in being on our catering list, please download and fill out this agreement.   New Caterers