When you’re planning a conference, food and beverage are essential items to plan for. Here are some tips to keep in mind when considering your options.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is key for any aspect of event planning. What food do they like? Is this a social event? Is this a professional event? Do any guests have allergies?
One way to plan for different tastes is to put together a series of menu options and poll your guests on what they would like to eat. This also gives anyone with food allergies the opportunity to inform you so you can accurately prepare for that too.
Know Your Numbers
Before your event, the venue will want to know the size of the gathering. This will help them plan for how many meals they need to provide. It also helps them get a picture of how many people they’ll need on staff and other necessities like extra chairs.
As the event planner, you’ll need to account for time. Allow 30 – 40 minutes for breakfast, 45 – 60 minutes for lunch, and for dinner, anywhere from 60 – 75 minutes. This gives your audience time to take a break and enjoy their food. Plated meals tend to take longer, which is why lunches and dinner should have more time allotted.
Refreshment breaks should be anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes long for most groups. This gives your guests time to breathe, stretch, and rehydrate. The bigger the group, the more time for breaks they’ll need, so keep that in mind as well.
Order by the Numbers
Ordering the right amount of food and beverages for an event is challenging, but it’s better to be overprepared than underprepared. Make sure you have enough food for everyone who will be attending, preparing for any human errors in scheduling.
While it’s important not to over order either, having some leftovers is to be expected. Consider donating those leftovers to a homeless shelter or other organizations in the area. Maybe offer some to staff members who helped set up and tend to the event as well.
For your next conference, look no further than the Charles F. Knight center. We have exquisite food and dining options that are sure to be a crowd pleaser!