Top 4 tips for hosting a successful Melbourne Cup lunch

Not everyone can make it to the track on Melbourne Cup day on 6 November, so it’s very common for companies to host a Melbourne Cup lunch, so their employees don’t miss out on the ‘race that stops a nation.’

It’s a great opportunity to treat your VIP clients, friends and staff to a great afternoon of delicious catering, champagne and fun and we’re here to help you celebrate the day in style. So, whether you’re organising an exclusive event for VIP clients, or a simple office party, check out our top 4 tips below to ensure your Melbourne Cup lunch is a success.

The dress code

Not everyone will want to dress up, so if you’re going to specify a dress code on your invitation, make it optional. If you’re going to have a theme for your Melbourne Cup event, make it easy for everyone to participate. For example, wearing ‘all white’ or have some fun with a fancy hats theme. Offer prizes for the most creative costumes or best dressed.

Organise games

Playing games is a great way to entertain everyone before the big race starts. Play ‘pin the tail on the horse’, create your own Melbourne Cup trivia with prizes, charades, create your own sweepstakes or horse shoe quoits.

You could even host your own version of fashions on the field with prizes for the best dressed or best hats categories.


Melbourne Cup is all about the bubbly! But don’t forget to offer alternatives, such as beer, wine, soft drinks and water. We recommend getting alcohol delivered to the office a few days before Melbourne Cup. And don't forget glasses, ice and tubs to keep the drinks chilled. For Sydney alcohol delivery orders, speak to our customer service superstars or order online from our website.

alcohol and champagne delivery

Melbourne Cup catering

Melbourne Cup parties normally start around midday, so your guests will be expecting lunch before the race starts at 3pm. There are many Melbourne Cup event catering menu options that will suit your budget and needs.

A sit-down 3 course lunch, buffet, a grazing table with food platters, an elegant cocktail party with gourmet finger food, or a classic high tea with beautiful finger sandwiches, scones and small cakes or cupcakes – the choices are endless. Just make sure there’s enough food for everyone, (and you've accounted for special diets) so no one goes hungry and there are no messy RSA issues by mid-afternoon. Try these fan favourites for your Melbourne Cup lunch:

  • Finger food - sliders, fresh rice paper rolls, skewers, roast duck pancakes and tartlets
  • Race day lunches including BBQ chicken, salads, fresh bread rolls or gourmet sandwiches
  • Sharing food platters that are perfect for mingling - roast chiccken, charcuterie, dips and crackers, cold meat platters, Middle Eastern mezze, sushi, tapas, cheese and more
  • Tasty BBQ catering - get a chef to man the BBQ so your guests are free to mingle and watch the race
  • Don't forget the sweet finish with a Melbourne Cup themed cupcake, chocolate dipped strawberries, sweet slices or a whole corporate cake to celebrate

Here are some bonus tips to ensure your Melbourne Cup event is a winner

  • Don’t forget to let staff know they should put their out-of-office on and divert any calls for the duration of the party
  • Don’t start your lunch event at 2.50pm just before the big race! Reward your staff for their hard work and let them relax and have some fun with catered lunch and games
  • Don’t forget about special dietary requirements. Include a selection of food menu options so no one goes hungry
  • Make sure you have enough crockery, cutlery, napkins and glasses for the event. Nothing kills the mood like having to drink champagne from a coffee mug. Speak to Order-In about our equipment hire service.
  • Need waiters or bar staff for your Melbourne Cup party? Speak to our events team at Order-In. We can assist with staff hire for your event
  • Don’t forget to have the TV set up for the big race! Ensure it’s in an area or a large boardroom where everyone can see the race clearly
  • If you’re serving alcohol, make sure your HR person sends out a reminder to all staff outlining the company’s policy and standards of behaviour.

Melbourne Cup lunch finger food

Melbourne Cup lunch catering & alcohol delivery made easy

Not every company wants to blow their whole budget on a Melbourne Cup lunch in November, nor can everyone take the whole day off to celebrate. Hosting an office Melbourne Cup party is still a great way to show your staff you care and gives them a break from the daily grind. Our corporate caterers offer a range of Melbourne Cup catering packages in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth to suit all budgets and themes. We can also assist with alcohol delivery in Sydney. So whether you're hosting a fancy cocktail party or a casual lunch for Melbourne Cup, speak to one of our office catering gurus on 1300 851 900 today for a free quote or check out our wide range of corporate catering menus online!

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