Spicing up your meeting and event meals!
Have you been to an event and you are about to sit down for your third hotel meal, and there it is again – the dreaded chicken dinner! Below are some tips to spice up your meeting and event meals.
Know your audience
What is your event and who is it for? Are you planning a corporate event for 500? Or are you planning an event for 50 meeting planners? It is important to know your demographic so that you can tailor your meal options to your group. Do your attendees go to events all the time, leading you to really enhance their food experience? Is your group predominately men or women? It is also very important to allow your attendees to self identify during registration if they have any dietary restrictions. Let’s say 25% of your attendees have dietary restrictions, perhaps you can offer a buffet that covers everyone, instead of having a plated meal where you must identify those individuals at the table? Or perhaps you can have a family style option to cater to everyone? As you can see it is important to know your audience so that you can tailor your meals to not only enhance your guest experience, but maybe even save some money along the way!
Get creative with meal options
Once you know your audience, you can then work with the hotel to provide the best options for your guests. Work with the hotel to get creative, for example, if you are hosting an event highlighting a destination, then showcase the local cuisine that will offer attendees something different and elevate their experience. It is important to look at what the format for the event will be, which will in turn help determine the kind of meal you can select. For example, if it is an awards dinner, you may not want to have a buffet as it will be very disruptive. If you are set on having a plated dinner or lunch – get creative! For example, maybe you can have tableside cart service for the entrée? Or you have family style dessert selection with wine pairings? Keep in mind, if you are having a seated dinner, use creativity to offer a better meal, but also to expedite service – if you offer too much, it can be long for your guests.
Get creative with the space
Knowing your audience and your meal options will help determine what kind of event you want to have. If it is primarily targeted at networking, a stand-up heavy reception is a great way to feed your attendees and allow maximum networking opportunities – no one wants to get stuck talking to only 7 other people all night, especially business development professionals! Think outside the box when it comes to seating – maybe instead of rounds, you opt for long table seating or a mix of both? Or use a furniture rental company to do something spectacular! (depending on your budget of course). There are many ways you can work with the hotel to provide a fun, exciting atmosphere that will play to your theme and meal options leaving your guests in awe and of course full!