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400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
(509) 963-1302

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Policies and Procedures

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Mission Statement

CWU Catering supports the Mission of Central Washington University and strives to create a superior customer dining experience. We are committed to offering quality food and customer service that meets the individual needs of the University Community as well as the off campus customer.


CWU Catering is the exclusive caterer on the Central Washington University campus. In compliance with Washington State Law, the Kittitas County Health Department, and the policies of Central Washington University, all on campus food and beverage services must be provided by CWU Catering. Outside food and beverages for catered events cannot be brought into CWU campus facilities without explicit written permission from the Senior Catering Manager, the Director of Dining Services, or the Director of Business Services and Contracts.

Outside Catering Services

With the exception of potlucks, pre-game, and post-game athletic activities that are coordinated by the Wildcat Booster Club, all food and beverages served at a catered event must be provided by CWU Catering. If Catering Services concludes that it cannot accommodate the food needs of an organization, a Kittitas County licensed food service establishment is permitted to provide food once written permission is granted. Permission will not be granted to outside caterers for events in Sue Dining Room, Lombard Room, Tunstall Commons, Kamola Suite, or the Student Union Recreation Center.

CWU Catering, Business Services and Contracts, and the Kittitas County Health Department work together to ensure that the proper county and Washington State Health Department laws, rules, and regulations regarding food sanitation on the Central Washington University campus are met and followed with no exceptions. Business Services and Contracts has the right to revoke the catering privileges of an outside caterer if the insurance requirements are deemed unsatisfactory to the University or if the caterer does not possess the proper health certificates with the Kittitas County Health Department. The Health Department will be on-hand at the beginning of each event to ensure that all Washington State and Kittitas County Health Department Food Sanitation laws, rules, and regulations are met and followed. CWU officials also reserve the right to contact the Kittitas County Health Department regarding any hazardous and/or emergency food sanitation issues or situations that may occur.

When staff in a department is considering providing their own caterer for an event, it is important to understand the legal status of food. CWU responsibility for food relates only to food that is being sold, but "sale" is defined to include the supply of food in the course of a business, whether it is sold or given away. If a department provides food to visitors within that department, the food would be deemed to have been "sold" and would be within the scope of the university's responsibility. Food provided by CWU employees at a small departmental gathering for purely social purposes is not within the scope. However, bringing in an outside caterer or vendor brings the food at the event back within the responsibility of the university. University faculty and staff members are strongly advised to not make their own private catering arrangements. In doing so, they are taking on a responsibility in law for the supplied food. This responsibility rests with the University's catering department where they are the supplier of catering services.

Leftover Food

Due to the regulations of the Kittitas County Health Department and catering industry standards, any food not consumed at an event cannot be removed. Leftover food is the property of CWU Catering.

Menu Selection

Most standard menu items are listed on the CWU Catering website. Some menu items are subject to a minimum order. Menus chosen less than 72 hours in advance are subject to availability, and a late fee of $25 per order.  Please note displayed prices are for on campus department charges, residence hall vouchers, and for billing to state agencies/nonprofits conducting qualifying fundraising activities. Tax is added to billing for private party and non-state entities.

Small groups are welcome to purchase food and beverages through Dining Services locations in the Student Union Recreation Center. Dining Services accepts cash, debit, and most credit cards. Payment may also be arranged in advance for meals to be charged to the sponsor's bill.

Served Dinners and Buffets

Menu selections are limited to two meat entree choices. When two entree choices are served, both entrees will be billed at the price of the more expensive entree. It is our desire to serve you promptly at the time you select. Please let us know if any pre-meal programs or presentations are planned. We open the dining area approximately one-half hour before serving time unless a social hour is scheduled. This eliminates confusion and allows our staff to attend to final details without interruption. We appreciate your promptness and we will do our best to work around any last-minute delays you may encounter.

If you have arranged for buffet service, we will begin at the time you select. Although our buffets are not designed as all-you-care-to-eat, seconds will be allowed after the last guests have gone though the buffet line and before the food is removed. The amount of time the buffet is up will depend on the size of your group, but will not last more than one hour. If a more extended buffet time is required, additional labor charges will be incurred and the integrity of the food may be compromised.

Vegetarian/Special Dietary Needs

It is the responsibility of the event host to learn if any special menus are required of their guests. If a vegetarian or special diet entree is requested, the Catering Chef will prepare a fresh seasonal entree at the current price listed. All special diet entrees are chosen at the discretion of the Catering Chef. We are able to accommodate most special meals with ten days advance notice. If an unforeseen vegetarian or special diet accommodation is needed during the event, the Catering production staff will do its best in filling the request.

Guaranteed Numbers

Special event planning takes time and preparation. To provide the highest quality service, we require that you provide a guaranteed number of guests to be served at the event. The guaranteed number must be finalized with our office 72 hours prior to the event, though ten days of lead time would be helpful to our staff. Charges will be based on the guaranteed number or actual number served, whichever is greater. If a guaranteed number attending is not provided to the Catering office 72 hours in advance, the number provided during the planning stages will be considered the guaranteed number.

Service Costs

Prices are based on the duration of the event plus one half hour prior and one half hour after to cover setup and tear down. Contact CWU Catering to plan the details of your event.  Whether you are having a social hour, a guest speaker, or an extensive presentation, we will help you create a timeline that ensures a successful event.  We are happy to extend the service time for an additional charge. Service staff is billed at $17.50 per hour per server.

Plated and served meals require one server per approximately 20 - 25 guests.  Meal prices do not include equipment or service staff. Room rental, setup, and custodial needs will be charged additionally. Please contact the Catering Manager for a quote for your event.

For delivered orders, the food will be delivered to your event location, set up, and cleaned up after the event. It will not be attended during the event unless previous arrangements have been made for service staff.  Additional charges will apply.

Events over 50 people or involving refilling the serving line must be attended at the Catering Services predetermined staffing levels and service staff charges will be added to the final bill.

Unscheduled client requests for refills, additional food, etc. are available for an additional charge.


Cancelation or significant count changes received within 72 hours of the event will be subject to the full amount of the catering order, or a cancelation fee. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis, per the Catering manager. Changes are subject to availability of product and staffing levels.

Rain sites are requested for all outdoor events. Rain calls must be made a minimum of three hours before an event.

Tablecloths, Napkins, and Skirting

Served and buffet-style service includes tablecloths for foodservice tables. All delivered food set ups will include a tablecloth at no additional cost, for the table you provide. Formal banquet and reception-style service includes skirting for all food presentation tables.
Linen tablecloths and napkins are available in white, cream, black, forest green, red, and burgundy. Tablecloths for tables other than food tables will be charged at $3.25 each. Skirting can be provided for additional tables at $10 each.

Centerpieces and Decorations

Table centerpieces are the responsibility of the event planner and are not provided by CWU Catering. Please discuss any centerpieces being provided for your event with the Catering Manager. Decorations must be approved by the Catering Manager. CWU Catering does not take responsibility for any decorations broken or left on the premises after an event.

Event Setup and Teardown
The CWU Catering department does not have keys to campus buildings other than its own facilities. It is the group's responsibility to make sure that facilities are opened as arranged with CWU Catering for efficient setup and teardown of the event. In general, 45 minutes prior to the event is sufficient for most events. The group is responsible for providing tables and trash cans for events held outside of a CWU Catering facility building. CWU Catering can provide tables for a rental fee of $10 per table.


Delivery charges will be added when food or equipment is delivered off campus.

A minimum $25.00 delivery charge will be assessed when requesting delivery of no-charge items.

A $250 minimum applies to food and beverage charges for off campus events.

Any events held off campus will have a $2.25 per person surcharge added to the menu price of the meal. Simultaneous delivery to multiple locations is available for an additional charge.

Pick Up Orders

Orders may be picked up at the Tunstall Catering Office at the time arranged with the Catering office, unless otherwise instructed. All food and beverage orders picked up by the customer will be discounted 10% from the current menu price. Please bring a cart to transport all equipment, food, and beverages. Equipment replacement fees will be charged on unreturned items.


Light Refreshments

Central Washington University policy 7- states, in part: Subject to programmatic & fund approval by the principal budget administrator (PBA), payment for light refreshments during university-sponsored meetings, projects, or formal training sessions may be authorized.

Expenditures for light meals and refreshments are limited to 50% of the current State of Washington $15 lunch per diem rate ($7) times the estimated attendance. Ancillary costs such as room rentals, setup & cleaning, if separately itemized, are not included in the calculation.

In regards to coffee & light refreshments: for state purposes, coffee encompasses any nonalcoholic beverage such as tea, soft drinks, juice or milk. A light refreshment is an edible item that may be served between meals such as a  pastry, fruit, cheese or cookies.

Prices are valid through June 30, 2017. Please note displayed prices are for on campus department charges, residence hall vouchers, and for billing to state agencies/nonprofits conducting qualifying fundraising activities. Tax is added to billing for private party and non-state entities.


Contact the CWU Catering Department at 509-963-1302 for custom menu design, state agency per diem menus, service for smaller groups, or any other questions.

Prices are valid through June 30, 2017. Please note displayed prices are for on campus department charges, residence hall vouchers, and for billing to state agencies/nonprofits conducting qualifying fundraising activities. Tax is added to billing for private party and non-state entities.

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