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Food and Beverage Purchasing

Business and Finance

PDF Version: FIN Food and Beverage Policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Policy Statement
  4. Related Information
  5. Policy History

I. Introduction

  1. Authority: Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) § 23-54-102, et seq. (2019) authorizes the Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver ("MSU Denver" or "University") to establish rules and regulations to govern and to operate the University and its programs. The MSU Denver Trustees retain authority to approve, to administer, and to interpret policies pertaining to University governance. The MSU Denver Trustees authorize the MSU Denver President to approve, to administer, and to interpret policies pertaining to University operations.

  2. Purpose: Certain occasions require the purchase of food and beverages. These purchases are governed by unique rules which vary according to the circumstances of the event. This policy defines those circumstances and outlines which rules apply.

  3. Scope: This policy applies to employees and departments of Metropolitan State University of Denver.

II. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Responsible Executive: Chief Financial Officer

  2. Responsible Administrator: Controller

  3. Responsible Office: Accounting Services Office

  4. Policy Contact: Accounting Services Office, 303-615-0039

III. Policy Statement


    1. Per diem is a set dollar amount that is allowed to reimburse authorized travelers for their meal expenses while they are on travel status.
    2. Based on the governor’s executive order D00503 and University Fiscal Rule 5-1.02, employees who are authorized to travel will be reimbursed for the actual cost of meals, including tax and reasonable tip, up to the total per diem rate established by the State Controller. Receipts for meals are not required because the traveler will be reimbursed up to the per diem rate.
    3. In order for an authorized traveler to be eligible for per diem reimbursement they must have an approved Travel Authorization form on file with the Accounts Payable staff prior to their departure, and they must adhere to the rules and regulations outlined in the University’s Travel Guide.


    1. An official function is an event, for official business purposes sponsored by MSU Denver authorized personnel, which includes food or beverages of any kind.
    2. Metropolitan State University of Denver Fiscal Rule 2-7: Official Functions and Training Functions shall be held to achieve program objectives and shall be limited to reasonable and actual costs. The attendance of State employees at these functions shall be kept to a minimum and shall include only those individuals directly related to the purpose of the function. Expenditures shall be kept to a minimum as they have the potential of being perceived to be for personal benefit and an abuse of public funds
    3. In all cases, regardless of dollar amount, official University purchasing procedures must be followed. Additionally, a list of attendees must be obtained and remitted to Accounts Payable.
    4. Official Functions include:
      1. Community relation functions - Events hosted by the University on behalf of external entities or activities directly related to the educational, research, or public service mission of the University.
      2. Recruitment functions - Actions to enlist new employees, faculty, etc.
      3. Student functions - Events hosted by MSU Denver that may be attended by students in addition to MSU Denver employees and/or associates and directly related to student or educational development, such as student recruitment or student program development.
      4. Meetings of employees, students and official guests of the University. The primary purpose of the meeting is to conduct MSU Denver business and the specific business purpose is stated on the Check Request.
      5. Training functions - held to enhance knowledge or educate the participants. Training functions have a written agenda, study materials, and are led by an identified presenter.
    5. Authorized signors (aka account custodians) have the authority to determine what events are necessary for their department and additional approvals are not necessary. However, special consideration should be given to events that are not directly related to the conduct of MSU Denver business or accomplishments of program objectives, i.e. birthday and wedding celebrations. Each authorized signor is a steward of their funds and must be able to support the reasonableness of their purchases. Please remember all purchases are subject to open records requests and have the potential of being scrutinized by peers, external constituents and the news media.
    6. This policy should not discourage employees or departments from taking up a collection and making unlimited private gifts to colleagues in appreciation for their services or in recognition of events of personal importance.


    1. Food or beverages that are purchased with the intent to use at various, informal occasions are considered supplies and do not qualify as an official function.
    2. Food supplies include:
      1. A bulk purchase of beverages, i.e. a case of bottled water etc., which is intended for unplanned guests (not scheduled meetings).
      2. Purchases meant for resale, i.e. concession sales. Separate rules govern sales of food so please contact Accounting Services BEFORE you engage in this type of activity.
      3. Candy or other small items purchased with the intent to give out at events where the recipients are not known, i.e. information tables, etc. (not trainings or meetings)
    3. In all cases, regardless of dollar amount, official University purchasing procedures must be followed.


    1. The University does not authorize payment for alcoholic beverages, with the following exceptions:
      1. Presidential official function.
      2. Purchased for use in Hospitality, Tourism, and Events (HTE) courses, where the alcoholic beverage is part of the course curriculum.
      3. Purchased through the MSU Denver Foundation, refer to the Foundation policy regarding the purchase of alcoholic beverages.


    1. The University follows the catering policy established by AHEC. This policy requires the use of specified vendors in specific, AHEC-owned buildings. Depending on the details of your event, AHEC’s policy may not be applicable; however, we do encourage the use of AHEC’s approved caterers. See "Related Information."
    2. The catering restrictions and guidelines are as follows:
      1. Catering services MUST be provided by an approved caterer for events with 35 people or more, in the shared neighborhood, which includes the Tivoli Student Union.
      2. Events outdoors, or under 35 people within the shared neighborhood, are exempt from the AHEC catering policy.
      3. Although we encourage use of the approved vendors, the catering policy does not apply to the following buildings:
        1. Administration
        2. Bear Creek
        3. Boulder Creek
        4. Cherry Creek
        5. Clear Creek
        6. Confluence
        7. North
        8. Spring Hill Suites/Hospitality Learning Center
        9. Student Commons
        10. Student Success

IV. Related Information

  1. Travel Guide and Training,
  2. AHEC Campus Authorized Caterers, 

V. Policy History

  1. Effective: July 1, 2019

  2. Revised: August 5, 2015; June 30, 2012

  3. Review: This policy will be reviewed every three years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.

  4. Approved By: President

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