Over 80% of attendees of conferences and business events base their feedback on the food served. Interesting, isn’t it? Unfortunately, most organisers or event planners tend to spend an awful lot of time (and budget) on the venue, merchandise branding and so on and leave one of the most important details to the last minute, the catering.
I can’t even count how many business networking meetings or conferences I have attended where the only food served were dried sandwiches and crisps! Dry and tasteless cakes were also a very popular option! While I totally appreciate that some businesses don’t have a massive budget for food, and some events are completely free for attendees too, I genuinely think it’s a massive mistake to serve poor quality refreshments.
Food is a very effective marketing tool, if used properly, food suggests socialising. Buffets are universally recognised as the area where the best conversations happen because when we eat, especially when it’s really appetising and good, we relax, put our walls down and we are more approachable. I strongly believe that your choice of catering should be kept consistent to the message you are sending with your brand. Think about how surprised you would be, to find pizza and ham sandwiches served at a lawyer’s reception. It might be the fact that I am a chef; but I think it’s very similar to dress code. You can’t attend a business meeting with your trainers on, can you?
Casino managers have become pioneers of the use of food and drinks to increase their business. Not only do they often have free buffets or restaurants inside their facilities, but they sometimes serve free drinks and food to the players. They have recognised the advantage of keeping bellies full in order to keep the people playing instead of them having to leave for their meals.
When you put a lot of effort into inviting customers and potential customers to your office to increase your business, do you really want them to leave before you managed to talk to them because they are bored and starving?
When your budget is very small I believe a choice of one savoury and one sweet snack and tea and coffee are more than enough to keep people entertained for a while. Often good quality biscuits and cheese are enough to cover that without emptying your purse. Avoid products containing nuts and make sure at least one of the snacks is suitable for vegan or vegetarians.
If you can spend a bit more, and you really want to nail some new contracts, make sure you serve canapés. They are stylish, bite sized and not big enough to stop conversations whilst they are fancy enough to catch (discretely) the attention of the attendees. In my opinion canapés are classy but contemporary and depending on the variety and numbers they can be a very good alternative to a light meal. They are also extremely handy because it’s easy to satisfy all dietary requirements.
Finger food and buffets are the perfect, less formal alternative to a sit-down meal, and are also more affordable. Some catering companies are able to provide pieces of furniture like high tables and stools that will make your gathering perfect too.
A quality catering company is often able to organise and serve a sit down meal pretty much anywhere. I have personally organised and delivered events in some very quirky venues, from marquees in the middle of a field to old castles and even barns!
Using a professional service will give you peace of mind on the small details, like crockery and waiting staff, that rushing to a supermarket for a tray of assorted sandwiches won’t give you and to top it off you will definitely tell your clients or attendees: I care for you and your business.
We are about to launch a new canapés menu. We are thrilled to invite you to our tasting party! please book your place here.