Event Organizers

Inspirations for outstanding conference catering

It isn’t easy to organize food and beverages for multi-day conferences. It is difficult to ensure that the event’s catering is memorable, from the opening breakfast to the closing gala.

Here are some tips and tricks that will help you elevate your conference catering. Start with the strategic and organizational decisions to ensure that the coffee is always fresh and the hot buffet food tastes just as good as it looks. Next, we will move on to creative F&B ideas that attendees can remember and return to year after year.

You can elevate your conference catering methods:

Make sure your F&B vendors offer conference catering services.

Hire a renowned local restaurant to host a networking luncheon for 100 people. This won’t work for you if they don’t know how to host events. The food will be mediocre, late and unimpressive.

Consider other caterers who are regular catering services providers for your conference venue. But don’t be afraid to change. These caterers are not always the best choices and can sometimes be used due to habits or connections to the venue. You can check their online reviews to find F&B vendors known for providing exceptional conference catering for the region, even if they don’t provide for your venue.

To improve the quality of your conference catering, make sure you get early and specific RSVPs.

It is important to understand the expected turnout for F&B planning, especially for large conferences. RSVPs are required for all concurrent events. Encourage attendees to sign-up for networking events and breakout groups as soon as possible.

Calculate how much food you will need for the conference as soon as possible.

When preparing food for events, you already know what the rules are. You will need to order more food and beverages if you have multiple events that span multiple days. If you plan to offer a coffee bar that is open all day, you will need more coffee than the 9 gallons per 100 customers for breakfast.

Make sure to plan your menu, calculate the food and think about ways to lower your catering costs as you go. Be aware of simultaneous events. For example, if there are two simultaneous networking coffee hours, it is possible to receive a discount at a local donut shop if your order is double.

You can also plan to eat F&B during conference lulls, usually mid-afternoon or early afternoon. Many attendees will venture out on their own to find local restaurants during this time. Some will stay behind to catch up on work or relax in the lounge. You can remember them by adding pastries and letting people know with an event notification via the app.

Before assigning coordinators, you should break down your F&B events according to their timing and location.

Even though they might try, your event F&B coordinator can’t be at all three locations at once. Some conference venues are large. If you assign a coordinator to simultaneous events in the 2.6-million-square-feet McCormack Place conference center in Chicago without some forethought–the problem becomes clear pretty quickly. While your coordinator will be able to get the job done, it will prove not easy to keep guests happy at each event.

After you have chosen your conference venue, look at the space and event timelines. If you have large event spaces, it is good to assign your coordinators events that are close together. Your coordinators can be assigned to either morning or evening events for all-day events in smaller spaces so that your staff isn’t exhausted.

For every F&B offer, create an event layout.

Event management software is a great tool to keep large events, such as conferences, organized and on the same page. You can make an event layout for each F&B offer that will be offered at the conference.

The best event planning tool allows you to create multiple layouts for a single event. Each event will require a unique event layout. The event coordinator’s name can be included in the title to let collaborators know who is responsible for the different events. You might have a layout called “Journalist Product launch Preview_Kate.”

You’ll need to include information such as the location, number and seating arrangements and known food allergies and dietary restrictions.

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