How to Plan an Amazing Company Barbecue

Barbecued Ribs

Ideas that make it Nearly Impossible for Employees not to Have Fun

A company barbecue or picnic is a great way to say thank you to your employees for their hard work and sacrifice. It not only strengthens “the tribe”, it also helps the employees family know that the organization is great! These are just a couple reasons that you need to bring your A game at your next barbecue.

An amazing barbecue consists of 3 elements (in this order):

  1. The People
  2. The Food & Drinks
  3. The Theme & Activities

Your team has a life outside of work, there can be budgets involved limiting the amount of food / drinks, etc. We find the best way is to just write down everything ahead of time and work within those perimeters.

Getting Employees to your Barbecue

Team building

If you have a small team than this may be very easy, but in larger companies it takes some creativity to work around peoples work schedules and personal lives. The best time to have your barbecue is either Friday, Saturday or Sunday in the afternoon. Usually around 2 or 3PM on Sunday most people are done with church and could easily attend. Make sure everyone is familiar and not too far away from the location you end up choosing. If you are part of a larger organization be sure to let people know about the barbecue at least a month in advance and continue to remind them.

The Sell

“Who wouldn’t want to come to the barbecue?!”, says the clueless boss.

The reality is that your whole team sees everyone all the time and they may enjoy those few days to themselves or with their families. So why should they want to come to the corporate barbecue?

Three reasons: Drinks, Contests and Shenanigans.

If there will be alcohol and prizes at your company event, people are 10x more likely to show. The shenanigans are just an added bonus! Don’t be boring with the drinks either – hire an awesome bartender who can make creative drinks that will have employees impressed! But, let us not forget, the real reason people come to the barbecue is for THE FOOD!

If You Cook It, They Will Come

Burgers on the bbq

It is best to stay basic here. Hot Dogs, Burgers and Ribs will keep people very happy. If you want to get craft, check out some great recipes here. Make sure to have the proper sides and toppings for everybody.

Some of the best business ideas can come from a few people having a drink at a barbecue. So be sure to have plenty of water, beer and cocktail options. As mentioned earlier you can hire a bartender if needed. When you have a larger group, this makes things very easy for people and they don’t have to worry about fixing drinks.

Activities, Theme & Giveaways to Enhance the Fun


Awesome Activities include:

  • Horseshoes
  • Volleyball
  • Paddle Boats (dependent on location)
  • Football
  • Frisbee
  • Set up a Piñata!

Setting a Theme & Using Giveaways / Gifts

Full color canopy

We have said it before but it bears saying again, we believe one of the best theme setting items you can invest in is a custom canopy tent. The reason is that you can use it over an over again at various events. Sold in multiple sizes, you could event have a separate one for your eating area.

The coolest items to use as giveaways / gifts for your next barbecue:

Water Bottles

Custom water bottles


Custom frisbees


Logo headbands


Hiring talent in a barbecue setting is largely a waste of money. Aside from a bartender, people just want to socialize among themselves and don’t need a magic show or comedy act. These types of things have there place for sure, just not at a barbecue. If your company is larger and you are certain there will be a lot of kids, the right face painters or clowns can be fun. Be sure to check them out at other events and make sure they are very good.


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