Our original plan was to have plated, hot lunches. When attendance went through the roof, we had to abandon that plan. The problem wasn't the hotel's ability to produce the food, it was their ability to serve it, and provide seating. There just wasn't space for everybody to sit at a table, so a "sit anywhere" approach had to be substituted.
Next year we hope to solve that issue.
Our meeting planners worked with the hotel's chef and catering staff to customize the "boxed lunches" we had, with soup and other hot side dishes. With the space constraints (that we imposed upon the hotel, with PyCon growing to over 1000 attendees!), they did the best they could.
There were some complaints that the food & drinks were being removed too quickly. I spoke with the hotel about it, and that seemed to solve it. At least, I didn't hear any complaints after that.