Recipe for Success: Meal Planning Insights

For events, food and beverage offerings can make a difference on how the occasion is
remembered, so it’s important to get it right. By adding a cup of strategy, tablespoon of creativity and a pinch of personalization, then mixing together with the insights below, the dining experience during your event is sure to be a hit!

1. Remember your audience – All menus should be balanced to accommodate the diverse audience, but if you know that a specific demographic is more heavily represented, the menu should reflect that.

2. Know your numbers – Get to know the history of the past events and understand attendee habits to assist in making the best financial decisions. Events tend to lose a certain percentage of guests for meal functions because of private meetings, other commitments, or those that may have already eaten before attending.

3. Be creative and engage with the venue – if the standard published menus don’t offer what you need for your theme or audience, don’t be afraid to ask for other options. Be up front about your budget, so the chef can best accommodate, and you can come to a decision faster.

4. Incorporate Seasonal and Fresh items – most venues do their best to source seasonal ingredients, but it’s also important to consider the region or location of the event for popular food items in the area. By incorporating regionally grown produce or proteins to reflect the locale, it will also ensure the freshest ingredients and maybe even help keep your budget in check.

5. Allow for a comfortable room setup and flow – choose the appropriate room layout that supports your event objectives and the scheduled meals. Always allow for people to spread out, especially if there is a presentation occurring while the meal is being served so that the notepads and pens don’t interfere with plates and glassware.

6. Combine camaraderie with culinary education – Depending upon the format of the event, allowing attendees to create their own signature dish or cook the entire menu together. It is a fun way to get attendees on their feet, add interaction and support relationship building while creating an unforgettable meal.

7. Consider the final presentation of food – It’s said by the best chefs that we eat with our eyes and nose before actually tasting. Whether it’s served plated or buffet, the meal should be visually colorful, fragrant and appetizing.

Susie Tucker is the Director of Culinary Sales and Experience at Cooks of Crocus Hill, a culinary retailer and educator in the Twin Cities.  More about cooking classes and private culinary experiences can be found at www.CooksofCrocusHill.com