Day four of Blog Every Day in November and the topic today is ‘Food Glorious Food.’ Relating this back to my own blog I wanted to specifically focus on event catering, specifically for conferences, workshops and seminars.
Catering is important. When attendees come to an event I often pick up the feeling that they are doing something different to their everyday working lives and therefore almost expect to be pampered and to indulge. They are certainly very well catered for by the many top class chefs and catering teams at venues across the UK.
By the same token many of our NHS and health sector clients understandably need to ensure the catering they provide is delicious but also nutritious for their delegates. Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring but educating some Chefs about what counts as healthy and how they can prepare/cook things differently for a positive effect on health has been somewhat of a mission at times.
I have learnt a lot myself working with fantastic dietitians, caterers and various specialists to instill the ethos from the North West Healthy Catering Guidelines over the last 10 years. I have learnt even more still working with the European Healthy Stadia Network in encouraging stadiums to offer healthier options alongside their traditional matchday fare, whilst still maintaining a commercial outlook in terms of revenue and profits.
A more recent trend from some clients has been a back to basic approach to menus with hot foods being replaced by simple “no frills” cold buffets. This has not only been a cost saving exercise but has also been a case of ensuring they are “not seen as being too extravagant.”
Top tip: Don’t forget to check the dietary requirements of all guests including delegates, staff, speakers, exhibitors and so forth so that you can advise the venue at least seven days before the event date and cater properly for your guests. We recommend asking questions about dietary requirements and also any disability or access requirements at the point of registration e.g. via the online registration form.
Whatever the clients approach and thoughts on the menu this is something your event management company will be able to advise you on. They will be able to suggest appropriate menus to suit your available budget and also to match the event timings and venue layout. They will also be able to suggest the final catering numbers which should be confirmed based on the likely numbers of apologies and last minute registrations/registrations on site.
How do you feel about catering when you are attending an event?
Do you expect to indulge? Are you happy with a healthy menu? Maybe you have been pleasantly surprised when faced with a healthy balanced lunch? Would you be satisfied by a no frills buffet or a wholly vegetarian offering?
What about if you have any special dietary requirements? Have these always been met adequately?
I will look forward to reading your comments below!