One of the most important tasks of planning a meeting is keeping your attendees well-fed throughout the course of your event. You have the daunting challenge of providing enough food, without too much waste or overfeeding. Throw in potential food allergies and dietary restrictions (along with oh, by the way, the food has to be REALLY tasty) and it may feel like an impossible challenge to make sure everyone is happy. Here are our five tips to keep in mind when planning your event menu:
Keep it Light
Nobody wants to be "hangry" during a meeting, but indulging in a constant barrage of rich foods can leave attendees feeling sluggish and in need of a nap. Offer lighter menu options so they'll feel energized throughout their busy day of meetings. This doesn't mean skimp on how much you offer, though. If possible, take a look at how much food was consumed (and wasted) during previous meetings.
Putting together a menu for an annual meeting doesn't need to feel like reinventing the wheel. Conduct a survey among past participants to see what they liked or didn't like about their food options at previous events. Also, include an option for registrants to inform you of allergies or dietary restrictions for planning purposes.
Meeting planners know the importance of making sure attendees have access to coffee and tea throughout the day. While coffee itself won't keep your attendees full, it is the first thing participants will look for in the morning, and as a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Including smaller food choices like fresh fruit and yogurt and grab-and-go options with coffee will help keep people with full itineraries energized as they move to their next session.
Keep it Local
Whenever possible, be sure that your menu options include locally sourced ingredients. While this helps with the environmental impact of your conference, it also gives you the chance to show off the flavors of your host city. The menus at The Otesaga feature ingredients from local purveyors.
While some people attending a conference treat their time away as a chance to splurge on their regular diet, there are just as many (or perhaps more) who don't want to be weighed down by several days of eating rich foods. Consider offering smaller, bite-size desserts that will appeal to those with a sweet tooth without overindulging. Keeping your meeting attendees fueled throughout the day is an important but not impossible task. Our experienced catering staff at The Otesaga can guide you through the process of creating the perfect menu for your next event.