Business Meals

How UW–Madison employees can pay for/get reimbursed for business meals.

A business meal is a breakfast, lunch, or dinner attended by multiple people which has a UW business purpose. Business meals may be attended by employees and non-employees. Examples of business meals include:

  • Dinner with faculty members and a distinguished speaker after the speaker’s event.
  • Lunch with an interview candidate and the interview committee.

Food and beverage expenses for business meals are payable/reimbursable when necessary to conduct University business (e.g. meal time was the only time attendees could meet) and pursuant to UW-3039 – Business Meals.

Business-related gatherings that are catered, require a room or space rental, require a contract to be signed, have a registration fee, or have an uncertain number of attendees are considered Hosted Events and are governed by Purchasing’s Events policy.

Events covered by the Official Functions policy are not business meals.

Meal limits

Payment/reimbursement for food and beverages associated with a business meal is subject to the following per person limitations using UW funding:

Type of Meal Within Wisconsin All other in continental US All other locations – including international
Breakfast $20 $23 $35
Lunch $21 $24 $40
Dinner $35 $43 $60
Refreshment Break (Hosted Events Only) $12 $15 $20

If available, amounts in excess of these limits can be paid/reimbursed using Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) funding. Maximum allowable food amounts must be charged to UW funding before WFAA funding is used. Any alcohol purchased must be paid/reimbursed using WFAA funding. The total amount charged to UW and WFAA funding combined must not exceed $150/person.

Business Meal Calculator

Payment methods

Payments charged to WFAA funds must be made either via My Corporate Card or reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses. WFAA payments cannot be made on the Purchasing Card. Payments charged to UW funding can be made via Purchasing Card, My Corporate Card or reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.


All business meals must be supported by an itemized receipt, an agenda, and a list of attendees, including how each of the attendees is affiliated with the university.


Travelers and departmental staff should contact their respective Divisional Business Office for policy or procedural questions.

Divisional Business Offices may email with questions.