We all know the run-of-the-mill, unexciting ordinary food services at business functions: few choices, long lines at the buffet, poor setting decoration... But that need not be the case!
Creativity is the secret: the food should be a feast for the eyes, too! Having said this, get inspired by the surrounding, the purpose of the meeting or the business activities of the company. Why not use surfboards as buffet tables when holding an event in California, a piano as a buffet bar for a gala dinner or use model cars to decorate the buffet if a car company is doing a meeting?
Next, make it alive: it doesn't take much to ask the hotel or the caterer for a live cooking station. This way you give your attendees the feeling of individual care and while waiting for their food they can network and talk. Live crepe, omelets, waffle, barbecue, pasta or sushi stations are just some of many different opportunities. The same does apply for do-it-yourself items like chocolate fountains when businessmen are setback into their childhood. Generally spoken: never forget their sweet tooth. Many delegates die for sugar in the form of chocolate, especially after long-lasting and exhausting meetings. Unusual and gourmet chocolate always attract attention.
In many aspects the big trend is tailor-made buffets and attendees with special dietary demands (vegetarians, gluten-free, lactose-free, calorie-reduced... ) will be thankful for considering their preferences for the menu selections. Moreover the “tailor-made trend” luckily leads to salvation from having to drink incredibly bad conference coffee out of big tanks. Many US hotels and conference centers even cooperate with Starbucks and set up coffee bars where delegates can order their customized, freshly made coffee. Many also highly appreciate an exquisite, wide ranging tea selection for the coffee break.
Other tips and tricks include considering local specialties that make the meal unique. Yes, most of us love fries and burgers or trends like Asian or Mexican cuisine - but do we really want to eat that when we are on a convention in Spain, Italy or France? Additionally, color your meal! Using sauce reductions and different oils kills two birds with one stone: we get rid of dishes drowned in heavy sauces and can choose between more colorful add-ons to our meals.
But meeting meals aren't only in the form of buffets for large groups of delegates. Internal business lunches for example often serve as great communication platforms for teams, whole departments or a private meeting between superior and subordinate. If for an interview, confidential news meeting, team-building, brainstorming or problem solving: business lunches require nonetheless some rules that should be taken seriously. First of all, employees should be asked for their lunch time, as many consider this time to be private. Next, the purpose should briefly be communicated to avoid having confused or insecure employees. Also the choice of the location is vital: it should fit all tastes, so too exotic restaurants should be avoided, as well as overcrowded places where five surrounding tables could easily overhear every spoken word. And last but not least: if for business purposes, these lunches should be paid by the superior. They probably can put it onto their expense statements anyway.