Meeting Planners, you have all been here before. You research locations, request proposals, go on site tours, read reviews, perhaps even stay a night to make sure the hotel along with event space would be the perfect fit for your event. You choose the location, collect RSVP’s, schedule activities and make sure all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed for your event and then it happens… the curse of the rubber chicken! Sure the event as a whole is a success, your meeting goals were achieved but all the attendees can talk about for the next year following the event is how terrible the food was.
Yes, it’s true, often times a main entrée of chicken is chosen because it is less expensive for the group and usually pleases the masses. However, this does not mean that you have to settle for a less than spectacular taste and quality. Whether you’re serving the protein plated or buffet, the quality should remain the same and it should be a little more exciting than just a piece of roasted chicken with green beans and potatoes. On a budget how do you overcome and deliver excellence to your guests for what would be considered an uncontrollable to you as the meeting planner?
First, if the venue offers tastings, do them! I would recommend tasting both a standard and an upgraded menu. This gives you a great perspective for what to expect on your plate for color, creativity and how far you can stretch your dollar by adding sides, upgrading the entrée or customizing.
Second, read reviews and ask how long the Chef has been with the venue. Great Chef’s who can deliver the same quality for a table of 4 as they can for 200 people are hard to come by. You can make a safe bet that if the Chef has been with the venue for several years there is a reason and one of those must be because they deliver in creativity and quality!
Lastly, if your budget allows, add an element that will really impress the group. People enjoy being part of making something of their own so consider adding a “build your own” element. This is sure to keep your attendees talking about the food for the next year, in a great way!
Remember, the food is one of the most talked about elements of your event. It’s important to get it right and choose a venue that you know can handle the task. In your events, cost will always be a determining factor for venue choice, but if attendee impression is just as important to you, remember to wow them with the food just as much as you do the view!
By: Mallory Voorheis, IOM :: Corporate Sales Manager :: Vintage Villas Hotel & Events