July 12, 2010 by Jeff Hurt
Photo by cacaobug http://www.flickr.com/photos/cacaobug/2148962917/
Here’s the second in a series of four quick tip sheets for meeting and event professionals regarding food and beverage, and meeting room setups. Here’s the first tip sheet: Meeting Planners Cheat Sheet: Beverages.
Most venues consider food and beverage as a significant revenue center. Often hotels give free meeting space based on the amount of money spent for food and beverage. So, the time to begin food and beverage negotiations is during the contract stage.
Amount to serve:
What food and beverage tactics are you using to stretch your budget or improve service?
Filed Under: Event Planning
We tend to hold the dessert from lunch and serve it as the afternoon break to save on costs. Most of our buffet lunches have enough variety that the attendees don’t miss dessert until we bring it out around 2 anyway.
We’ve also moved from bottled water to pitchers of water in the room, and from cans of soda to pitchers of lemonade and iced tea. Saves money, less garbage, and eliminates the taking extra back to the room factor.
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Great blog guys! Adding to my blogroll.
Great tips and thanks for doing the math on both the food and beverage posts. This is definitely Evernote worthy.
Can I make one request to all meeting planners out there? Please consider your diabetic attendees when ordering your catering options. The upside is, because a diabetic diet is low in processed foods and sugars, your attendees (non-diabetic included) are less likely to crash mid morning or mid afternoon.
A great resource for meeting planners is http://www.diabetesmonitor.com/diet-and-lifestyle/healthy-foods-for-events-and-conferences.htm
Thanks for reading and adding your tips. Love the idea of lemonade and iced tea in pitchers. Smart move.
Glad you stopped by Saul. Thanks for letting us know you’re reading.
Wow, Evernote worthy! Love that. Appreciate the tip about considering diabetic diets and the link. Now that’s Evernote worthy!
Fantastic post with great information! So important to consider the vegetarians, and also important to consider the growing number of people who are finding out they are gluten-free. Breakfast is always full of breakfast breads, but have an alternative for those who can’t eat it (like me, haha).
Great point. Glad you added it. What would you recommend for breakfast for people like you that can’t eat breakfast breads or pastries?
If it’s a cold breakfast having fresh fruit available is always a nice option. A seasonal fruit salad is my favorite, but also an assortment of apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, etc. is also a great choice. Hardboiled eggs are also good too. The good thing about fruit and hard boiled eggs is that they also accommodate the health conscious in the group as well.
If it’s a hot breakfast, definitely eggs and breakfast meats.
There are also lots of gluten free breakfast bread options, although they can be costly. If a solid approximation of the number of gluten free attendees is known, it is nice to offer this option.
For gluten-free fruit helps but we also need stable carbohydrates to sustain our energy through the event. The expensive gf products have too much sugar anyway, so better choices are a grain-free potato dish, sweet potato or white rice not contaminated by wheat, soy sauce, or prepared dressings or sauces (which tend to contain wheat fillers ). Simple is best and least expensive! Gf eaters will be ecstatic.
At one of our meetings we asked the hotel to do the water and tea in pitchers and they were surprised at the request.
I also want to stop the over use of water bottles, plus it makes the work area look less cluttered.
When planning an F&B I make sure there are both kosher and vegetarian/vegan menu items.
I request to have bagels split in half so people don’t have to eat a whole bagel. If the bagels are on the buffet and the toaster is separate, I make sure that the spreads are in both places.
Thanks for the tips – yet another post to send around to my peeps who are not already on the Velvet Chainsaw Love Train. @Traci – thanks for the reminder about diabetics – will be checking that out.
As someone who has been eating mini-danish at breakfast meetings since the early years of the Carter Administration, I have of late grown awfully fond of eating and serving the yogurt/granola/fruit option in the early hours, especially when there is a table to lean on (as opposed to the awkward balancing flimsy plates and bowls with foodstuff on one knee/coffee on floor resting precariously near foot only to be kicked over when speaker gets boring and I am squirmy, etc.). Yummy, filling – feeling good about self flows into feeling good about the meeting. Or so I hope.
Stay tuned for my one woman show about running cocktail receptions called “Fork You: A Meeting Planner’s Guide to Cutlery”.
Thanks for reading and commenting. We really appreciate it. Your suggestion of serving yogurt/granola/fruit is an exceptional one and one that many meeting attendees will appreciate it. We’ll be on the watch for your one woman show too.
[…] Meeting Planners Cheat Sheet: Food […]
I’m a geologist repurposed as planning menus for a small national NGO. For our annual training programs, our attendees love hot oatmeal. Healthy, cheap, good goo many types of diets and eaters.
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