Nancy did not consider herself to be fussy. She was just trying to eat a healthy diet which included herbal teas. The trouble was; when she attended seminars and workshops, a frequent part of her job, she was always offered coffee in the breaks and rarely, if ever, her chosen beverage. Even when she brought along her own herbal tea bags, the venue could never seem to be trusted to supply boiling hot drinkable water to complete the infusion.
Managing the dietary needs of your attendees can be quite intricate. You might encounter vegans, vegetarians, fruitarians, individuals following raw food diets, those with nut sensitivities, wheat sensitivities, lactose intolerances, and possibly even the occasional meat-eater. While you probably won’t be responsible for preparing the meals yourself, it is crucial to have a reliable system for documenting this information accurately and sharing it with your catering team.
The venue may not offer in-house catering, but they can likely refer you to reputable catering companies that can provide delicious food for your event.
Selecting a catering company to assist you can be a pleasant job as those who are proud of their track record will insist that you sample the product before you make your order.
For longer workshops and events, you may need to provide at least one meal. Although the food should be nutritious and interesting, try to make sure that it is not too heavy on the calories otherwise you may lose half of your audience to siesta time. Take advice from your caterer, they should be able to suggest a range of menus that will be appropriate. When you pass on the information regarding special dietary needs, make sure that those dishes are carefully labeled as they tend to be tasty and interesting unlike traditional buffet food and and might disappear into the wrong stomachs.
If you are organizing a smaller event, you may think that none of these concerns apply to you. However, that is not the case! Even with coffee and biscuits, there is still the potential for complications. People with allergies and food intolerances will still experience hunger, so it is important to provide snacks that are free from nuts, wheat, and other potential allergens. Additionally, a variety of beverages should be offered to cater to different preferences. It is essential to have clean, hot water available for those who bring their own special brews, as well as coffee, decaffeinated options, black tea, herbal teas, and fruit teas. These are the minimum requirements if you want to make a good impression. Luckily, most well-equipped venues will have a beverage dispenser that can accommodate these needs and more.
You may get no extra stars for getting the catering right, but get it wrong and your event will be a scar on people’s memories.
Ask Nancy and she will regale you with countless tales of poor catering experiences, of tepid, dirty water served in a coffee stained pot, of serving staff who fail to understand her requirements and, worst of all, of being totally ignored because she will not accept the standard cup of coffee. Ask her about the seminars and she is, at best, vague.
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