What to Ask Your Corporate Event Clients Before Recommending an Event Menu

December 25, 2023 Desiree Homer

Professionally planning a New York corporate event is a little more complicated than social events you curate. But they share similarities. The food on the event menu has to be spot-on, or the whole occasion could flop. Even worse, someone could have an allergy to an ingredient or cross-exposure and really have a bad time. 

It’s so exciting to be in New York and have such a portfolio of trendy food and beverage options at your fingertips. Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet, however. Keep reading to make sure you ask the following important questions before booking the corporate event’s caterer and selecting food and beverage options for your clients and their guests.

Do Any of Your Guests Have Food Allergies or Dietary Preferences We Should Know About?

Number one on the list to ask is what allergies the client or their guests might have. This includes celiac disease (allergy to gluten.) The severity of the allergy may be important as well, as some might have an uncomfortably fuzzy tongue, and others may go into full anaphylactic shock. Special cleaning and prep procedures may be necessary, and not every caterer may be able to accommodate this need. 

Some other common food allergies can include:

  • Wheat (gluten, celiac disease)
  • Peanut
  • Tree nuts (walnut, pecan, almond, pistachio, cashew, hazelnut)
  • Shellfish or Fish
  • Egg

Are There Any Religious or Faith-Based Preferences to Consider for the Event Menu?

New York is a melting pot of its own, and with that comes a mosaic of culture and religion. Some religions have special dietary guidelines that need to be followed in order for that person to be able to consume the food served to them.

These religious considerations can include Kosher certification and practice and not consuming pork or other shellfish. Having a caterer that can accommodate these considerations is important if you have a client or guests who actively follow these practices.

Are There Guest Preferences for Beverages?

Guests might have preferences besides those that allergies and religion dictate. Some may really not like cilantro, or a whole client guest list may go wild over a good barbecue. Some clients and guests might want a completely dry (alcohol-free) event, while others may be okay with a cocktail and mocktail menu.

Get to know your clients and their guests’ preferences. A coffee bar is a phenomenal addition to the end of the night, especially after a big meal, but a portion of the guest list may prefer tea and enjoy this as an option. As an event planner, it’s hard not to get bogged down in the details. But having a preference discussion can help build that extra rapport with your clients and really make an event special.

Would Your Corporate Event Guests Prefer Buffet or Traditional Tableside Meal Service?

This is one of the questions that can make or break an event vibe for an event planning business. If you or the client plan a whole event and don’t clarify whether the catering options are going to be served buffet or sit-down style, it can impact anything from venue compatibility to overall cost.

It’s a logistics element, too, depending on the nature and layout of your corporate event. Smaller meetings or executive cocktail parties might call for gourmet appetizers and tableside dinner service. Larger conferences or product launches might flow better with self-service buffets for meals and beverages. 

Learn More Event Planning Best Practices at Event Planner Expo 2024

The Event Planner Expo is the leading event planner event of the year. Learn industry insights, network with other event planning professionals, and rack up new connections for your catering, venue, and entertainment needs. With over 150 booths to browse, world-renowned guest speakers, and a surplus of networking opportunities, you don’t want to miss it!

Get your tickets today, and we’ll see you in October!

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