Multiple surveys confirm food and beverage experiences and events have destroyed or enhanced the delegate experience.
The wrong menu and drink selections can make a massive impact. Take lunch for example – if the delegates are expected to sit through an afternoon of presentations absorbing information, providing them a heavy high carb, stodgy lunch (apart from the potential of boring presenters) will put them to sleep and sap their energy levels.
How much time and consideration are spent choosing the lunch? Venues understand today, the necessity of managing allergy and religious requirements, but the person choosing the lunch often picks from menus based on their own personal taste, perceptions and preferences – not selecting lunch based around the event or timings.
- Consider the number and profiles of delegates.
- Labelling is not always great – if you have delegates with religious or allergy dietary requirements, discuss with the venue how the food will be labelled and ensure when served (such as canapes) each food item is kept separate.
- If a few guests that require different dishes to the majority – discuss with the venue the importance of not making these guests feel uncomfortable. I have seen many times at a function where the waiting staff go around the table, asking who the vegetarian is and when the whole table has been served, the vegetarian is left waiting with everyone staring at them, ready to start their own meal!
- Is the menu choice right for the time of the day?
- Be clear with delegates in the pre-event communications, what food is being served. Nothing is worse than attending an event and refusing the food during the drinks reception to later find out…that was dinner!
- If you are serving canapes or bowl food, make sure the venue works the whole room – delegates are great at seeing where the food is coming from and pouncing on the poor waiting staff as soon as they come out of the kitchen. This often results in delegates at the other end of the room asking when food will be served.
- Share positive and negative feedback you receive from delegates with the venue post event. Most venues will appreciate constructive feedback – as the creativity of a menu and food styles are extremely competitive and they are striving to introduce new ideas all the time.