A venue has many challenges when it’s asked to cater for an event and gone are the days when you can simply wheel out a generic buffet spread and be happy that everyone will enjoy what you have provided. That doesn’t work and catering is now much more personal.
Allergens, religious or cultural beliefs and even personal taste must be considered when preparing menus for an event. Whilst some of those are quite clearly more important to consider, it is the venue’s duty to ensure that expectations are met – but they shouldn’t be alone in doing so.
A venue must offer variety and, more often than not, you can rid yourself of delegate ‘personal taste’ issues through choice. However, when it comes to health and beliefs then that is when the venue and organiser must work together. When it comes to the event the delegate is quite clearly the focus and being prepared is a necessity. We have always been flexible but we have recently introduced a more proactive approach by asking organisers to answer mandatory questions in our online event planning form…
- I have asked all my guests to indicate whether they have any of the 14 recognised allergens
- I have asked all guests with nut allergies to specify the severity on a scale of 1-5 (1 = slight rash; 2 = vomiting; 3 = drop in blood pressure; 4 = breathing difficulties; 5 = anaphylaxis)
- I will provide the venue with accurate information on the delegate list of any allergen/dietary requirements
- I have informed all guests with specific allergen/dietary requirements to announce themselves to the Restaurant Manager
After this a spreadsheet is provided so the organiser can complete it with guest names and their dietary requirements. All of this gives us the tools we need to ensure we find the right balance for delegates on the day when it comes to serving up wholesome and healthy food, leaving no-one hungry or let down.
Catering is very much a benchmark for a venue when it comes to meetings, conferences and events. These simple steps and an open-minded approach can make sure you are providing variety whilst delivering excellence to those hungry delegates – whatever their preference!
Sustenance is one of 14 things known to improve productivity during a training event or conference. Learn more about that and the remaining 13 here.