Event catering is important to the success of your event and you want to get it right, but it can be hard to please all of your guests. Event catering trends and tastes are constantly evolving. We investigate sone of the recent and current changes you should be aware of.
When attendees come to an event, they are generally doing something different to their everyday working lives and therefore almost expect to be pampered and to indulge, expecting to be well fed. They are certainly very well catered for by the many top class chefs and event catering teams at venues across the UK.
By the same token, many of our NHS and health sector clients, in particular, want to ensure the event catering they provide is delicious but also nutritious for their delegates. Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring but educating some Chefs about what counts as healthy and how they can prepare/cook things differently for a positive effect on health, whilst still providing exciting menus has been somewhat of a mission at times.
Nutritious Event Catering Menus
We have learned a lot working with fantastic dietitians, caterers and various specialists to instill the ethos from the North West Healthy Catering Guidelines over the last 15 years. The European Healthy Stadia Network have also undertaken pioneering work encouraging stadiums to offer healthier options alongside their traditional matchday fare, whilst still maintaining a commercial outlook in terms of revenue and profits. Nowadays, the nation is a lot more health-focused and will generally appreciate the effort to provide healthier options and alternatives.
No Frills Event Catering Menus
A more recent trend from some clients has been a back-to-basics approach to menus with hot foods being replaced by very simple “no frills” cold buffets. This has not only been a cost-saving exercise but has also been a case of ensuring they are “not seen as being too extravagant” or giving the wrong impression.
A Fully Vegetarian Event Menu
I also have a client who decided to offer a fully vegetarian menu and cut out meat entirely to reduce the carbon footprint. Today, as the nation becomes more health-focused this will become more commonplace, but this was back in the early 2000s and was a very brave and unusual move to take at the time.
We have seen the number of dietary requirements and the requests at every event increase massively over the last 10 years. We are also all too aware of the danger food allergies can pose, with some high profile cases hitting the headlines in recent times.
Top tip: Don’t forget to check the dietary requirements of all guests including delegates, staff, speakers, exhibitors and so forth so that you can advise the venue at least seven days before the event date and cater properly for your guests. We recommend asking questions about dietary requirements and also any disability or access requirements at the point of registration e.g. via the online registration form.
Whatever the client’s approach and thoughts on the menu this is something your event management company will be able to advise you on. They will be able to suggest appropriate menus to suit your available budget and also to match the event timings and venue layout. They will also be able to suggest the final event catering numbers which should be confirmed based on the likely numbers of apologies and last minute registrations/registrations on site.
How do you feel about event catering?
Do you expect to indulge? Are you happy with a healthy menu? Maybe you have been pleasantly surprised when faced with a healthy balanced lunch? Would you be satisfied by a no-frills buffet or a wholly vegetarian offering?
What about if you have any special dietary requirements? Have these always been met adequately with event catering?
We will look forward to reading your comments below!