Today’s meeting attendees often look for new and inspiring experiences. Planning activities that are not only fun, but incorporate the city’s culture and unique attributes will help make a meeting more memorable and engaging. Offer something new and unique by using the latest in local food trends as a springboard to plan your offsite social events or teambuilding activities.
A Convention & Visitors Bureau has a finger on the pulse of all that’s new and coming online in your host city. Ask the CVB staff about the local food scene and cutting edge food trends. Many new options may have popped up since your last conversation with the CVB, and the staff will know which of these are suitable for group experiences.
Inquire about new independent restaurants or local James Beard nominated chefs that offer cooking demonstrations. Ask about local breweries that can host large parties or local food trucks that cater. Inquire about food adventures like a guided wild food foraging trip or farm tours. Beyond craft beer, there could be craft hard cideries, micro sake or local kombucha for a new taste of craft beverages. Ask about creative donut shops or bean-to-bar local chocolate for your VIP gifts. You might even learn about off-the-radar underground supper clubs with wild themes and secret locations for an off-site event.
When you have the lay of the land and know what your meeting destination can offer, consider the unique ways you can incorporate the trends into your meeting. Here are some ideas to bring new flavor to your next meeting:
- Food Truck Team Building: teams are supplied with materials to build their own cardboard “food truck” and supplies for making the latest food fads. Teams work together to build and prepare food that can be shared after the competition is over.
- Use local food for center pieces and décor: Local honey jars, farm fresh eggs, locally grown hops – there are many options to make a feast for the eyes.
- Cooking Class/Iron Chef Challenge: create a competition for your attendees. Promote using local ingredients. Don’t forget to ask the CVB about area cooking class venues.
- Local Brewery, Chocolate Factory, Distillery or Restaurant tours: Find the most knowledgeable tour guides in the city and give your attendees a tasty tour of town.
- Souvenir Sip: Create a signature craft cocktail using locally sourced ingredients to celebrate the conference.
Looking for a destination that can make all the ideas listed here happen? All are found in Asheville, North Carolina, Lonely Planet’s #1 Destination in the U.S. for 2017. With 6 six James Beard nominated chefs, more craft breweries per capita than any other city and 14 farmers markets, Asheville is known as Foodtopia™. Our chefs incorporate exquisite local farm-to-table fare into catering menus and elevate the everyday break and banquet to something outstanding. There are also a number of food adventures and culinary experiences for groups including wild food foraging and farm tours. Our more than 250 independent restaurants will tempt attendees to explore our enticing dining scene on a free evening.