Catering At Conferences
Catering and organizing food and beverages at large events like a multi-day conference is a huge challenge, and it requires a lot of planning. Similarly, making sure the food you are offering is delicious and welcoming is no easy task. If you offer low-quality food to your guests, it will not only decrease the event experience, but your guests will not bother to attend your next event.
But with proper planning, you can elevate your conference catering experience and make sure your attendees leave with happy thoughts. When it comes to catered events, certain factors determine whether your event will be a success or an evening with a traditional and boring chicken platter and coca-cola.
7 Ideas for Outstanding Catering at Conferences
Here are some creative catering ideas for conferences that your attendees will love to experience and remember for years. This way you can ensure that your attendees return for year after year.
1. Select Vendors that have Conference Catering Experience
When selecting a catering vendor for your conference, don’t rush out and hire a famous local restaurant. No. Even if they make delicious foods, chances are they have zero experience when it comes to catering for a large crowd at a conference, and it will not work in your favor. Explore your options and look for vendors that are regular suppliers for your selected conference venue.
You can also hire an event company and leave it to them to handle all the catering needs of your conference. Make sure to check online reviews and ask the venue managers for local reputable catering companies around.
2. Push for Early RSVPs
Understanding the overall turnout will help you enormously with event planning and catering, but for that, you need to have RSVPs for each event. Encourage your attendees to sign up for different events and workshops as early as possible. Planning on how much food you need for a single event is easy, but it is not the same for conferences.
Therefore, you need to calculate how much food you need as early as possible; only then will you be able to significantly decrease your catering costs. You can also consult event companies in Dubai that have prior experience of planning conferences and get their help in determining your catering needs.
3. Create an Event Layout
Consider creating an event layout to make sure your conference is well organized, and all the team members are on the same page. Creating event layouts is essential for large scale conferences and events to make sure you have planned ahead for every offering at the conference.
In your event layout, make sure to include details like the location of the event, number of attendees, seating arrangements, special dietary needs, and food allergies. This way, you will be well prepared for any scenario that might unfold later on.
4. Plan the Menu around the Agenda
For impeccable catering, make sure to plan your menu around the agenda of the conference. For example, if your conference includes hands workshops, then skip the heavy carbs meals like pasta, pizza, and bread. Instead, you can have lean options like steak fajitas, chicken salad, hummus wraps, fruit bowls, etc.
Similarly, offer your guests fruits and nuts with afternoon tea instead of high sugar options like cookies. It would be best if you planned catering and a menu that suits the agenda of the conference.
5. Set up an all-day tea and coffee bar
Everyone loves a sweet cup of coffee or tea in the morning, but your guests would love to drink it throughout the day. Provide a wide range of options to your attendees in order to appeal to everyone. Offer different tea; black, green, herbal infused, etc. Similarly, when it comes to coffee, you can offer both caffeinated and decaf for your guests.
Also offer different sweeter options for guests with special dietary needs. Make sure your coffee and tea bar is in a centralized location at the conference venue. This way, it will be easily accessible and will not interfere with the flow of traffic.
6. Presentation Matters
If you want to create a lasting impression on your guests, you need to reconsider the presentation. Whether your conference is focused on a serious matter or business, attendees love a lively event. Therefore, get creative with the theme of the event, including tablescapes and eye-catching event centerpieces.
It doesn’t have to be exaggerating; you can go for pots of fresh herbs and seasonal flowers to add greenery to the event. You can do the same for drinks and snacks. Offer your guests mocktails and artisanal doughnuts for an afternoon break.
7. Think Local
Local food can be fun at the conference. Often, people travel to faraway destinations to grab an “authentic” dish or drink. Both international and regional groups at your conference will appreciate local food and specialty instead of a traditional chicken meal. So, if you can include a local dish on the menu, go for it.
Similarly, if your conference is in a big city center, you can bring a homey vibe to it by offering food like hummus, falafel, baklava, crab cakes, etc. If you want to include a regional specialty in the menu, consult event companies in Dubai for local food vendors offering special menus.
Leave a Lasting Impression on Your Guests
Following these tips will help you create an outstanding catering for your next conference that your attendees will absolutely love. Make sure to keep the conference layout under control to control the traffic. This way, you can have your guests move in the right direction and have a smooth flow.
Catering to large corporate events like conferences can be a challenge as it is composed of different events and workshops. However, with these tips, you can plan not only excellent conferences but also memorable offerings that will enhance the experience of your guests and help you achieve.
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