Conferences take time, planning, and energy. And they almost always involve having to cater for a large group of people. And, while it might not be the reason people gather, the menu can have a substantial impact on how guests experience your event.
Putting time and effort into your conference menu will help you create a daily meal (or three or four) that will satisfy and impress your delegates. Experts at catering for corporate events, we’ve worked with a variety of guests, budgets, venues, and staff so we know the best way to plan a conference menu that’s sure to be a success.
Top tips for a stellar conference menu:
1. Know your guests
Who’s attending this event? Are the delegates conference regulars who would enjoy being pleasantly surprised by something different than the standard buffet menu or do they have special dietary or religious requirements that restrict what you can offer? Are they older and more conservative about food choices? Or tourists wanting to enjoy local delicacies? Find out what your guests need (and want) out of a conference menu and give it to them.
2. Variety is the spice of life
While a good menu centres on an ethnic or seasonal theme using complementary dishes, it’s a bright idea to give your guests options. This will ensure they find something they want to eat on the menu. Two or three starters, a selection of salads, and perhaps a choice between a decadent dessert like a rich cake and a healthy option like seasonal fruits and cheeses.
3. Take your venue into account
Where will the conference be hosted? In a boardroom, conference centre, or meeting area? And, more specifically, where will the food and drinks be served? Is there power for hot plates? Do you need an on-tap coffee station? Is a plated main meal a suitable option, will you be serving guests at cocktail tables? Is the kitchen nearby? From sit-down meals to finger snacks, the venue and facilities will go a long way to informing what kind of menu you dish up.
4. Plate it all perfectly
Eating well is a full sensory experience, including the visual element. Make sure the food you serve is fresh, fragrant, and colourful. Each serving should be appealing and should be displayed and served in such a way that your guests can’t wait to take their first bite.
5. Don’t forget the drinks
Conference delegates tend to spend at least a full day in attendance. It’s important to ensure that they are well hydrated. This will help them stay alert and even tempered. Provide chilled water (in individual glass bottles or jugs) and ensure that there are regular tea and coffee breaks. Does the conference extend into the evening? Depending on the occasion and guest list, give some thought to night time drinks and a well-stocked bar.
Planning a conference menu can be challenging, especially if you have other tasks on your plate. Let us help! With our experience and expertise, we’ve catered almost every type of professional event in a variety of venues. We can plan and deliver your conference menu with professionalism and style. And we can even bring the waiting staff with us, if needs be.