Events involve a lot of food and that's not a secret. But how does juggling the menu properly play into the overall event experience?
Food is crucial. It can make or break someone's day, which is why it's so important to make sure there are food options that everyone can eat. Trust me, we know how critical executing meals properly is, just imagine feeding 3,000 people at Cvent CONNECT!
Throughout my time of planning menus and ordering food, I've picked up a few tricks. Here are a few easy insights to help you with your next menu.
The first thing to do is cover the four main bases. Separate your menu into four groups: traditional, vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, and allergies.
You want to make sure everyone is going to be able to eat the food. Keyword: be able to. That doesn't mean someone ends up eating the gluten-free option, but having it is much better than having someone show up for lunch and there's nothing they can eat.
You'll never fully please everyone, but you can try your best.
Break the Menu Down
Pick something fun, attractive, and simple. You don't want something that smells strongly or is a mess. Don't make the menu too difficult.
Account for enough protein and make sure there are enough options. Make your own plate stations are great.
Most places have gluten-free options. Be aware of what gluten is and talk to the chef or caterer for the details on ingredients.
A great idea is to display a label of everything that is in the dish. Make sure if a dish contains a common allergy, like nuts, it is clearly marked. Labels save time because people sometimes stare at something complicated and end up avoiding it if they aren't sure what it is.
- Steer clear of things that can get stuck in teeth easily, like poppy seeds. You don't want top executives going to their meeting with tons of black seeds in their teeth.
- Think about the price compared to quantity. If you have a more humble budget but a lot of people to feed, don't go with a specific caterer just because of the name.
- Weigh all your options. If one company has great food but its too expensive there's probably another company that sells the same food, but cheaper.
- Keep it simple and avoid super complicated things. Salad bars are great. Buffets are easy.
- Factor in time. Do you have 30 minutes or two hours? This affects your whole menu. For grab and go lunches, pre-made boxes are great. If you have a sit-down dinner think about how long each course will take and how many courses.
For more menu tips, check out: What to Think About When Picking Food for a Networking Event