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Planning Food Options for Meetings, Conferences, and Trade Shows

healthy food
by Nook Meetings & Events on March 9, 2020

An essential part of your event is the food you provide. A well-executed menu will keep your attendees and guest speakers happy and reflect nicely on your organization. But do you know which foods to serve? Learn more about what kind of food is best for conferences, trade shows, and meetings.

What Foods are Best for My Event?

Before you begin planning food options, consider the time of day of the event. Morning and early afternoon events call for breakfast- or brunch-themed menus, while savory dishes are best suited for late afternoon and evening events. Meeting type rules follow:

  • Business meetings: The best food for meetings is something that's not messy or difficult to consume, as most guests will be dressed professionally. Light, brain-boosting foods like fresh fruit and salad bars will keep your guests awake, alert and mess-free.
  • Conferences: When you're deciding what kind of food is best for conferences, remember that variety is key. Offer a combination of sweet and savory foods as well as dishes that suit different dietary restrictions. When you provide a variety of foods for conferences, you're more likely to satisfy your attendees.
  • Trade shows: Trade shows involve a lot of movement, so you need to incorporate a portable menu. Some food options for trade shows include bite-sized appetizers.

Who Should Handle the Food?

Unless you're a restaurant-based organization, having a professional catering company handle your event's food is the best option. They will take care of preparation, serving, and cleanup. When it comes to catering, you have two options:

  • On-site catering: Many event venues offer on-site catering. Because all food is prepared on-site, it's served at an optimal temperature and without delay. Venues that offer on-site catering may also be more affordable, as the catering is usually part of a package deal.
  • Off-site catering: Off-site catering is when an external restaurant, catering company or food truck set up at your event. The benefit of off-site catering is that you can choose the exact type of food you want to serve. Make sure you check with your venue before signing a contract with a company, as some venues have rules regarding off-site catering.

What Do I Need to Consider When Creating My Menu?

As you craft the perfect menu, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Taste: Taste should be the biggest factor. Taste is what your guests will enjoy and remember most.
  • Appearance: The appearance of your food matters. Neat, visually appealing food projects a professional image for your event. Well-presented food can also make your offerings look more luxurious while staying in-budget.
  • Practicality: Avoid foods that are difficult to eat or expensive to prepare. Stick to simple, tasty and easy-to-eat food for the best results.
  • Your brand: Make sure your menu matches the tone and scope of your event. Consider using it to enhance your event and engage attendees. For example, offer unique or visually interesting foods and encourage attendees to post pictures on social media tagging your brand.

Let Us Handle Your Next Event

Let Spooky Nook Meetings & Events handle your next conference, trade show or business meeting. In addition to more than 700,00 square feet of flexible meeting space, we offer full-service onsite catering options that use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Whether you want a simple or upscale menu, our Executive Chef and banquet staff will work closely with you to create a successful, memorable menu for you and your guests.

In addition to formal catering, we also have an on-site restaurant for small groups, as well as a smoothie bar, food court, and vending machines.

Visit us online to request more information or schedule a tour of our facility.

Topics: meetings and events