What's on the menu?

October 3rd, 2019

From comfort food like burgers to non-alcoholic cocktails to plant based eating to unicorn food. Every now and then new trends pop up and the interest in food & beverage keeps increasing. So the importance of food at meetings or events should not be underestimated. What can you do to manage expectations and positively surprise your guests when planning your event menu?

Selecting the right dishes

What kind of guests are attending and what is the event about? For business meetings all breaks are important for networking, so it is good to stimulate the mingling of the guests with your setup, so prefer a buffet lunch over a seated lunch in this case. When it is a standing function make sure the food is easy to hold and eat (without cutlery) and does not spill easy. Do you only have local guests or do they come from all over the world? Typically a big part of the guests likes to taste something local, but at the same time it is good to keep the eating habits of other cultures in mind when selecting a menu. When choosing a menu for your buffet also take into account the different dietary requirements and take this into account as much as possible. Make sure there is a good part of vegetarian dishes available to meet already part of them. 

For plated dinners making a safe choice can also prevent getting negative comments. Make sure there is a good balance between the dishes and for big groups avoid explicit tastes like game and better choose chicken or guinea fowl over a big piece of red meat. Chances are that this will not cover everything, but a good caterer is able to come with a great alternative for every dietary requirement, the time of giving a vegetarian a green salad as substitute for the regular main course should be over.

Making food part of the event

As catering tends to be a quite chunk of your budget, why not use it to liven up the room and give your guests something to talk about! Food shouldn’t just be about keeping people full, make it part of the experience! Unique breaks and serving out-of-the-box snacks are a perfect way to stimulate a creative brainstorm session or have your guests interact and making memories with each other. From a customizable popcorn bar to a live donut decoration wall, there are many creative ways to wow your guests and feed them at the same time! Or what about customizing the food wraps or your cups or even print on the cappucino foam to have a fitting quote or your slogan on it?

The art of plating

Nowadays everyone is making photos of food and sharing it online, whether this is public on social media or just sending it to a friend through Whatsapp. By making sure that the presentation of the food is as essential as the taste, you can take advantage of the attention your event gets on social media. Why not swap the traditional chafing dishes for food trucks? With their funky designs, creative menus and delicious smells, food trucks are sure to bring excitement to your corporate event and the dishes are known to be ready for a close-up picture!

For a seated dinner the chef can be creative in the art of plating; fine dining is not only about taste, also the presentation is key. By choosing the right plate and make a nice composition you can really "wow" your guests. Some aspects of the event can come back even in the plating, without being cheesy.

Sending a message with food

Food waste and sustainability remain important issues in the world and chances are you want to do your part with creating an eco-friendly event menu. Thankfully, many caterers are beginning to step up and are taking the initiative to find new and creative ways to make impact. Practices such as fermentation, micro-farming and on-site beehives are only a few examples of how kitchen’s are focusing on sustainability and responsible operations. As your guests are becoming more aware of food and want to know where the ingredients are sourced, education is becoming a key component of the experience. Notecards can be used to inform guests about the ingredients used, including some information about locally sourced items, offering an educational experience that allow guests to learn and at the same time develop a greater appreciation for the local dishes.

Of course, when you are putting food in a more prominent spotlight, you don’t want your event to move away from its purpose and the point of the gathering should stay central. Above all, what’s most important is to make sure that the food fits the goal of your event and the people attending.