By Sarah Hill, content writer, Seven Events Ltd
So, you’ve got your venue picked, your speakers lined up, and the invitations sent out. But although it may seem like that’s the lion’s share of work is completed, you can’t overlook a crucial part of any successful event that must be carefully considered if you don’t want to leave your guests disappointed.
Although many novice event planning services providers look at the event menu as an afterthought, they soon come to realise that if the guests are disappointed with the food and drinks, they won’t be pleased about the overall event either.
But why is the menu so important? And how can you make the right choices regarding it?
Let’s explore the biggest food choice mistakes and the best practices from corporate event management below.
- Not considering the preferences of your audience
Just like anything else in your event, you need to prioritise the experiences of the guests above all else.
Some factors that can influence menu preferences include age, income level, ethnic background and geography to name a few. Think about the foods that your audience might typically enjoy and then consider how you might incorporate them into your menu while keeping it exciting and unique.
Another critical factor to consider is whether your audience is health-conscious – some audiences might want to indulge themselves in comfort foods that may not necessarily be very healthy. In contrast, others would prefer to feast on food that is organic, low on unhealthy fats, and rich in nutrients.
2. Having limited choices
If you take the time to identify your audience and their preferences, that is a step in the right direction, but you still need to consider the fact that your audience isn’t a singular group of people. Within it, there are various sub-groups that have their own preferences or dietary restrictions that need to be addressed as well.
One common and crucial mistake made by novice corporate event management companies is forgetting about a significant subgroup of their audience – vegetarians and vegans.
If you don’t want to instantly alienate and anger a part of your audience, you must include vegetarian or vegan options in all of your menu sections. You don’t need to overhaul your menu completely but you should find a way to substitute the meat and fish with vegetarian options that are also delicious.
3. Serving pre-made meals
When looking for the best event management solutions in terms of the menu, it’s often tempting to take a more convenient or simpler approach. Sure, it would be very convenient if you could serve frozen or pre-made foods, as that would make it easier and more affordable.
However, by doing so, you would instantly reduce the quality of your event and worsen your reputation in the process.
And even if you prepare meals on the spot, you should still try to not just serve generic meals that use imported ingredients.
Try to source seasonal, local, and organic ingredients that will give your event’s location more weight and allow the guests to experience the local produce for which the region might be famous.
Perform research about local produce and local dishes that are particularly popular in the region and try to think of ways how you could use them when creating the menu. If you find a creative chef, you could have them brainstorm ideas about how to put a unique twist on a traditional dish, which could provide your guests with an unforgettable culinary experience.
4. Not timing the meals around the schedule
When planning a menu, it’s essential to consider the unique dynamics involved in corporate events. These types of events attract high-profile people that are very deliberate about how they use their time, so in many instances, people will opt to participate in more activities, have more time to network, or hear more speakers instead of sitting around and eating.
Therefore, you need to plan your meals around the schedule of the event and make sure that the menu and dining times don’t clash with the event’s purpose.
If possible, combine dinner with networking, allowing people to spend more time together while also enjoying a well-prepared meal. Alternatively, if you feel that there just isn’t enough time to spend a couple of hours dining, you may want to opt for lunch boxes that can be eaten on the go, saving time for your guests.