How to Plan a Holiday Potluck at Dead Fish Grill

Dead Fish Grill

Dead Fish Grill: Welcome to Dead Fish Grill in Belton, Texas! They are a lakefront seafood restaurant conveniently located within driving distance from Temple, Harker Heights, Killeen and Waco. They offer indoor and outdoor seating, regularly scheduled live entertainment, and private event spaces to accommodate a variety of occasions.

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Dead Fish Grill

Many industries have faced record cutbacks. Lavish holiday celebrations may be a thing of the past.

Some employees may have trouble finding child care or can’t afford the expense of an evening out with co-workers (buying holiday clothes, dry cleaning, restaurant and taxi costs, etc.).

A potluck at the office may be the best way to celebrate the holiday with all of your co-workers.

A potluck lunch or dinner is where everyone attending brings a “covered dish” or other menu item to the party.

Because everyone chips in on the cooking, it’s a low cost way to cater a large meal for everyone you work with.

The dishes are set on a table and everyone serves themselves, buffet style.

Dead Fish Grill

Check with the management of your office and determine if any holiday festivities have been scheduled. Even if an off-site holiday party is scheduled, an in-house potluck may allow more people to attend.

Ask permission to schedule a potluck at the office and coordinate the best time and location to set up and have the meal.

  • Depending on when your offices are open, a lunchtime potluck meal may be the best time. More employees are typically in the office during the day.
  • Ask your manager if the company can cover the cost of the meat items, allowing employees to bring the fixings. If not, ask everyone to contribute a dollar or two in addition to their potluck contribution. Order the meats in advance from a restaurant, grocer, deli, etc.

    Dead Fish Grill

  • Because of the cost involved and concerns about proper cooking, you may want to consider ordering hams or turkeys from a local restaurant, grocer or deli. You can pick them up before the meal and serve while it is still warm. The meats usually take the longest time and having them prepared by a professional is usually easiest. Consider ordering pre-cut turkey breasts and ham to offer a variety with easy serving.
  • Tofurky or other meat substitutes should also be available for any vegetarians or those with food “issues” who attend. Don’t assume they’ll be fine with the side dishes either. Vegetarian dishes are quick to prepare and are good menu items for vegetarian co-workers to sign up to bring. Add a “meat substitute” line to your sign up sheet if vegetarians are numerous in your workplace.

    Dead Fish Grill

Pick a date and time. Consider the demands of your industry. Retail businesses may need to schedule this when the location is less busy. Other offices may have many people taking their vacation the week of Christmas. Consider a time earlier in the month of December if your office tends to operate on a skeleton crew the week of Christmas.

Ask the highest ranking manager to send an email to all employees asking them to save the date and time and inviting them to celebrate with co-workers. Reminder emails should be sent out weekly leading up to the date.

  • Send the initial email out as far in advance as possible. Two weeks in advance is adequate for smaller offices.
  • A message from the most senior manager is usually best and will probably result in a better turn out.
  • Managers can coordinate a system with their staffers to allow everyone a chance to get food and eat.

    Dead Fish Grill

Post signs around the office with the date and time. Also instruct people to a specific location to sign up to bring certain dishes. Place the sign up sheet in a central location where people will see it every day.

Create a sign up sheet for people to commit to bringing certain items.

Tape the sign up sheet to someone’s desk in a central location. You don’t want the sign up mixed up or accidentally thrown away.

Include another sheet with the details of the event and a separate sheet for a few volunteers to sign up. Volunteers will be needed to set up the food, put ice in coolers, etc. For a larger workplace, you may want to have a sign up sheet for “Set Up Volunteers” and “Clean Up Volunteers”.

  • Consider the size of your office when adding the numbered lines. If you only have 20 people in your office, you may want to only put a few lines under each food category.
  • By limiting the number of items under each category you can be sure you will have enough of the appropriate food items and not 5,000 paper plates and bags of ice but nothing to eat.

    Dead Fish Grill

Include a deadline to sign up and remove the sheet at the deadline. This will encourage people to sign up the weeks before and not for something at 6pm the night before. One or two business days before is usually sufficient.
Consider the following categories and layout to add to your sign up sheet(s). Other items may be considered depending on what may be popular locally. Adjust for the size of your office. Have them write their name and what they’re bringing.

Remind everyone to bring the appropriate serving spoons to serve their dish. People bringing desserts should bring pie servers or a sharp knife. Let them know on the sign up sheet and through emails and memos to bring the appropriate serving spoons to go with their dish. People bringing canned foods (cranberry sauce) may need to bring a manual can opener if your office kitchen or break area doesn’t have one.

Dead Fish Grill

Tell them to drop off their dishes. Include a notation on the sign up sheet asking everyone to bring their dishes to the area/room it will be served at least 30-45 minutes prior to the mealtime. Those with non-perishables can place them in the room as they arrive in the morning. This will get all the food and serving ware into the right room where the volunteers can set it up.

  • Also include a notation that everyone is responsible for collecting their dirty dishes following the potluck.

Set up large garbage cans to collect dirty dishes and cups. This will prevent food dishes from being tossed into waste paper baskets that may not have liners. You may need to move the garbage cans from other parts of the building or coordinate with the cleaning service to have the large cans and heavy duty liners available.

  • If your office and staff is working to be more “green” you should request specific environmentally friendly plates, cups and cutlery be purchased. Make sure you have a separate recycling container next to the trash.
  • To stay super green, ask everyone to bring their own plates, cups and utensils from home.

    Dead Fish Grill

Remind everyone to label their dishes, slow cookers or serving items. Keep a roll of masking tape in the drop off area in case someone forgets.

Make sure you have dish detergent at a sink where people may rinse off items before taking home. If a sink is not available, people may want to bring a plastic bag to safely transport the dirty dishes back home for cleaning.

Encourage people to bring hot items in insulated carriers or to have someone warm the dish at home. Having everyone with hot dishes trying to warm food in the microwave could be problematic and delay the start time of your meal.

  • Electric griddles are an excellent way to keep items warm when you use them on the lowest setting, monitor often and stir as needed.
  • Some potluck recipes are excellent when served in a slow cooker. They’re easy to transport and you can be plugged in when you arrive at the office so the food stays warm.
  • Have tables set up near plugs to keep slow cookers and other electric serving items can be plugged in.

    Dead Fish Grill

Coordinate with your potluck volunteers so they arrive about an hour before mealtime and you can begin setting up prior to the designated mealtime.

  • Wipe off any tables that will be used for serving food.
  • Set the plates, cutlery and napkins at the beginning of the food line, place the meats next followed by the side dishes. Place drinks and desserts and the end of the table or set up another table for those items.
  • If the dish isn’t obvious, the dish bringer should label the dish with the name of the food and note if there are nuts, or meats in it. Just “Veggie casserole – has nuts” or “pasta salad – has bacon” will do. The mention of nuts is especially important if someone in your office has a nut allergy. The mention of meat is nice for vegetarians, especially when a meat or broth may be mixed in and not obvious at first glance. Label the dish or tape the note to it. Taping the note to the table may not work since dishes may get moved around as people are serving themselves.

    Dead Fish Grill

Coordinate with the manager a time for him/her to address the group. This is usually best as people are gathering but before everyone has served themselves and is moving to find a seat. If you have someone who can say a few words giving thanks, coordinate with them before. They can be ready to make those remarks as the manager finishes.
Allow those workers with limited time to eat to go first in line. These may be co-workers who have duties that are being temporarily covered by someone else.
Enjoy this opportunity to share great food and spend time with your co-workers.

Give everyone plenty of time to go through and eat. Encourage people to get seconds or save leftovers on plates for any shift workers that may not be awake to attend. Label these and put in the refrigerator. They’ll love the thought.

Dead Fish Grill

Remind everyone to claim their dishes and serving items. Hopefully, most people will come to collect those items and the volunteers won’t be delivering bowls and platters to offices.
Wipe down the tables, move drinks and non-perishable items to the break room for people to enjoy later. Put any tables or chairs back in place. Make an announcement asking for any volunteers to help with clean up. With several people it can be done in a matter of minutes.

Things You’ll Need

  • Email or way to communicate with everyone in your office. An invitation with a festive look can be sent out to everyone by including it in their paychecks or having delivered with inter-office mail. Email may be the best way and will allow people to email you back with questions.
  • Signs with the date, time, details and instructions on where people can sign up
  • A sign up sheet printed on colorful paper with the main food categories and space to sign up to bring a dish under each category. This sheet should be divided by category with numbered lines under each category. Try to balance the sign up sheet so people are bringing a good variety. If particular items are popular in your area, add those as separate categories. Remember to put this list in a high traffic area and tape the list down to a desk or table to avoid it getting torn, lost or accidentally thrown away.

    Dead Fish Grill

  • A manager to send the initial invitation
  • A few volunteers for set up and clean up
  • Dish towel or cleaner to wipe the serving and/or dining area before the meal. The janitor cart may be locked up. These are also handy for spills and moving hot plates.
  • Someone who can monitor the sign up sheet, send reminders and make sure people are signing up for a variety of items.
  • Large garbage cans with heavy liners so people may dispose of dirty dishes and cups.

Dead Fish Grill

More tips

  • Don’t be “that guy”, if you are attending, you should bring something. If your schedule allows you to attend at the last minute, contact the coordinator and ask what may be needed or ask for a suggestion from the coordinators. If they say “nothing” you should insist on volunteering for set up or clean up duties.

  • Monitor the list. If a category is being skipped over, send out emails or mention to people any shortages. Remind them of the deadline.

  • Encourage those who can’t cook to sign up for bringing the paper products, a bakery bought cake or pie, drinks, ice, etc. These are especially good categories for younger employees who may not have stocked pantries or the available funds to make a more complex item.

    Dead Fish Grill

  • If you or a co-worker has a specialty dish, encourage them to prepare that item to share with co-workers. This can make the meal especially fun since many have traditional dishes that are new to others.

  • Remind people by email or through an office page when dirty dishes should be picked up.

  • If the event is a success, send a thank you card to the management for allowing you to have it. Hopefully, they will allow potlucks for other holidays and celebrations during the year.

  • Don’t sign up for any major item if you’re in doubt about attending.

  • If you are unable to attend, make sure you remove your name from the sign up sheet. Do this as soon as possible so someone else can sign up for an item in your category before the deadline time.

  • If you bring a dish you expect to be popular, email yourself the recipe and forward it on to anyone that asks you for it.

    Dead Fish Grill

  • Make sure you add numbered lines to the sign up sheet that will allow a good ratio of side dishes to desserts and other items. If someone adds a line, just tell them that category is full and they should sign up to bring something else that is needed. Handle this on a case by case basis, especially if the person who signed up has limited cooking skills or means.

  • For popular dishes, like macaroni and cheese or potato dishes, you can add those as separate categories.

  • If you are a member of the volunteer committee, bring a few dish towels or rags from home and/or some of your inexpensive serving spoons. The towels will be handy for cleanup. Extra spoons and serving ware are handy because some people will forget.

  • Assign someone to take some pictures. It will be great for the corporate newsletter, the company website or just to share between co-workers.

  • As soon as the sign up sheet is created, sign up for what you want to bring. By signing up with your name and the name of your covered dish, others can see the appropriate way to sign up and will follow suit.

    Dead Fish Grill

  • You don’t have to use your best china, but you should try to use presentable looking serving dishes/platters. This is especially important if you are buying a ready made item from a deli or a grocer. Dress up store bought foods by serving them in glass bowls or holiday themed dishes. Rolls can be served in a basket lined with a clean holiday themed towel. If you’re planning the event, you can casually suggest this by word of mouth or include in the friendly email reminders.

  • If someone still insists they cannot bring anything, offer for those few to pay $20 to take part on the day. Next time they will make more of an effort to bring something.

    Dead Fish Grill


  • It is possible for everyone to complain about how they “can’t lose a single hour of their job”, so be careful.

  • Decide in advance what to do with the leftover meat if you collected money for it.

  • There’s always someone who will balk at contributing even a couple of dollars. “If I’m not at work that day, can I get my money back?”

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