As a general rule, meetings go more smoothly when food is available for guests. Not only does it provide your guests with an opportunity to rest and refresh themselves, but also opens another window for company networking. However, there are some important aspects of food planning that should not be overlooked. Follow the advice below to ensure a perfect presentation of well-planned cuisine.
Make the food fit your purpose. If the event calls for several short meetings throughout the day, having a snack table constantly available at the back of the room would be a wise idea. However, if the event calls for a more upscale evening, you need to think gourmet buffet or a fancy sit down dinner. Depending on what effect the food is to have on your guests, it is important to decide early on whether food is going to play a major or minor role in your event.
Always know the budget. Be realistic as to what your company can afford in terms of food and beverage costs. If this is the smallest area of the allotted budget, you may have to save the gourmet buffet for another day and go for the snack table instead. There are always ways to make a food table look fancier by adding decorative arrangements and multi-level serving platters.
Knowing what your venue offers. When deciding on food services, know what type of help will be available at your chosen facility. Will you have access to a kitchen? Does the venue have an in-house catering team or will you need to bring in an outside catering company? These are all important questions to ask up front. Alternative venues often have little to offer as far as food services are concerned, so plan ahead to make special arrangements.
Cater to your guests. If everyone liked the same type of food, restaurants wouldn’t offer so many choices on the menu. Your guests are bound to have different likes and dislikes, so it is important to cater to the tastes of different groups of people. Be sure to always include vegetarian options, as well as some low fat and low cholesterol meals. If serving a sit down meal, it is helpful to ask in advance if there are any special accommodations your guests will need. Chefs are usually more than happy to provide some alternative dishes if given enough prior notice.
Know when to serve. Although not the main focus of your event, the food can become a large ordeal and an appropriate time should be allotted for the serving and consuming of your provided meal. This is prime time for socialising and networking with other employees. Try to serve the food at a distinct break between meetings or speeches and not during the break of a discussion on a single topic. Let the snack time be a time of relaxation, not a timed break before quickly getting back to business. If you are allowing a small break from a meeting for basic snacks, never give more than thirty minutes and provide the food in a location very close to the meeting room.
Stick to these rules and any of your food concerns can be put to rest.