Is there any regulation or guidance that would allow the contract to be written after the lodging or food services have already been provided?
You cannot award a contract after the work is over. If I understand the facts, your organization is giving a verbal committment to a contractor to begin work and then definitizing the effort after the work is over. If the person giving the direction has the authority to do so, they are effectively doing a letter contract (a verbal letter contract), but not using the procedures in FAR 16.603
. If the person giving the direction does not have the authority to do so, they are at great risk, and could easily be held liable for the costs of this unauthorized committment. When you pay the contractor, the agency is ratifying the agreement. In either case, if inspected, it is likely that your buying activity would lose it authority to contract. Letter contracts are frowned upon in the Government, that why FAR 16.603 is so restrictive. Your agency isn't even following those rules which could get you in alot of trouble.
I recommend that you work with your customer to figure out another way to contract for the food and lodging. You could use a cost reimbursement contract and pay actuals. I think it makes most sense to competitively award a FFP contract that sets a predetermined price for a meal and for lodging. The contractor is paid for the number of meals served and lodging provided. The contractor is motivated to provide good service in order to get more people in to use the dining facilty. These contracts also should have minimum standards that are used to inspect them.
I recommend that you talk to an expert. He is working on writing dining facilty templates for the Army. I have also attached a performance work statement and inspection templates... Good luck.
Jose A. Millán
Senior Food Service Systems Analyst
Joint Culinary Center of Excellence
Concepts, Systems & Policy Division
(804) 734-4858 DSN 687-4858