Corporate events can be well-planned, artfully designed, and meticulously organized. But if your menu is mediocre or worse, your attendees are only going to remember one thing - how not-so-great the food was. As an event planner, you’re going to want to dedicate a substantial amount of time and consideration to your corporate event menu options. And these are the insights you need to know to ensure you choose wisely.
Prepare for a Difference in Preferences
Ideally, you’ll want to serve food, snacks, and beverages that your corporate event guests will actually enjoy. And the best way to do that is to ask your employees and invite lists to share their meal preferences. You can use quick surveys to better understand any special meal requests based on diet restrictions, allergies, and eating styles too. With these insights in mind, you can begin looking for catering partners and menu options that meet those guest preferences and dietary needs.
Menu Success Is in the Details
When selecting your corporate event menu items and fare, remember that success lies in the details. Your conference theme, for example, will help you make some of these food and beverage decisions. If your event is more relaxed and focused on team-building, a fresh deli-style lunch buffet might be in order. Alternatively, if your corporate event is a holiday celebration with upscale settings, a multi-course meal service with wait staff might be the best option. Just remember that you’re not only selecting menu items, you’re also tying in event aesthetics with your meal plan.
Gourmet Appetizers Are Great First Impressions
As you’re sampling catering menus for your upcoming conference and company event, don’t overlook the importance of appetizer menus. Meal service might be slated for later on in the event. But your guests might get hungry before then. And offering gourmet morsels as part of your opening party or cocktail hour can make a huge difference in first impressions. Stave off those hunger pangs and make an upscale impression on all your guests with just the right appetizers.
Just as an appetizer satisfies cravings before the primary meal service, your desserts can provide delightful tastes after the lunch or dinner. Get creative with your dessert options, including both sweet treats and healthier dessert choices. Consider bringing in a separate dessert or baking professional for these offerings, too. Explore plated desserts, as well as finger desserts, for convenient snacking.
Speaking of snacking, you’ll want to make sure that your corporate event has plenty of light snack options throughout the duration of your event. Attendees might need a boost of energy or a quick bite between keynote speakers or company training sessions. These snack stations can be set up throughout the venue for convenience. And it’s always best to include mess-free snacks with plenty of bottled water, too.
Selecting Your Main Course
With your attendees’ preferences and dietary requirements in mind, you’ll want to choose delectable main course dishes that satisfy. Most dinners will feature one or two options of a protein. But you can have the most fun when selecting the various sides and accents that compliment those main course staples. Be mindful to sample every dish before making your final decisions. And include salads, vegetable sides, and hearty favorites.
Healthy and Energizing
Another aspect of meal planning for your corporate events involves presenting healthy and energizing options. If your entire menu is filled with rich, robust, and heavy morsels, your guests might get full and tired after dinner. Instead, try to infuse your menu with healthy fruits and alternatives that provide your guests with an energizing boost. When your conference attendees are alert, they’ll be more likely to engage and interact at your event.
Don’t Forget the Signature Drinks and Must-Have Sips
Event planners who curate corporate events should also spend some quality time carefully considering the beverage menus. Get creative with your bar service, for example, offering signature cocktails or mocktails that tie into your event theme. You can also transform traditional coffee service into a coffee experience, with talented baristas whipping up lattes and artfully designed espressos. And as previously mentioned, you’ll want to keep plenty of water and non-alcoholic refreshments available so your guests always find something they like.
New York event planners can elevate and improve their attendees’ engagement across all their corporate events, trade shows, conferences, and company meetings, with a dedicated strategy for selecting the perfect-fit menu. Keep these insights and suggestions in mind as you curate your next NYC corporate event. And to learn more valuable insights from top events industry experts, now’s the time to get tickets for The Event Planner Expo 2023, happening soon! It’s the premier conference for thousands of event planners, business owners, corporate executives, and hospitality professionals - you won’t want to miss this three-day experience!