Crowd-pleasing event food ideas for corporate trips
Corporate events are the perfect opportunity to celebrate team wins, showcase new products or incentivize team members to continue performing at a high level. Local destination management companies (DMCs) can play a vital role in providing catering ideas, sourcing local venues and vendors and more.
Whether you’ve settled on a theme or you’re still thinking about how to ensure event guests have memorable experiences, keep reading to learn more.
Pairing the event theme and menu
Choosing a unique event theme will help you narrow down your catering options. With a theme in mind, you can focus on specific types of cuisine, hors d’oeuvres and other considerations such as seating arrangements and the number of courses.
A formal event doesn’t necessarily need a seated dinner. You might consider having tray service for the appetizer course, a seated main dinner and a dessert buffet. This arrangement allows guests to mingle with one another and take a break from socializing while eating.
Here are some considerations for choosing a catering menu:
- Research the guest list: Consider creating a profile of the average attendee. Are they business professionals? Charity donors? Does the group skew younger or older? Knowing this basic background information will help you settle on a menu that appeals to a broad set of the guest list.
- Ask about food preferences: Be sure to ask the event host about any special considerations to keep in mind when planning the menu. For example, if the event is for a company that promotes environmental awareness, you probably shouldn’t serve a menu with only red-meat proteins. In addition, you should be prepared to accommodate special diets and guests who may have food allergies.
- Choose seasonal produce: When produce is in season it is not only more flavorful, but also more affordable. A local DMC can help you source catering vendors who use high-quality local ingredients.
- Choose local dishes: Your menu should reflect the local culture. For example, if the event is being hosted in Vietnam, you might serve a delicious seafood phở.
In addition, the menu should align with the event’s overall schedule. Meals consisting of several courses take more time. If the event includes several activities for guests to participate in, you might prefer to stick with a more casual menu. If the evening’s program is aligned with activities such as a speech between courses, make sure that all parties such as the speaker and the catering company are informed about the schedule. This will help to keep track of time and reduce delays.
Finding unique local cuisine
When groups travel to another country for an event, they mostly expect to sample the local cuisine. This is where a local DMC can help you find authentic meals at reasonable prices. The experts who work at DMCs understand local customs and have established relationships with local vendors. For example, our DMC MC&A has helped to create themed events using local resources. Not only does this make the event more authentic, but it also helps to support the local community.
If you’re planning a trip for a smaller group, you might also consider a more hands-on experience. Our DMC Tour East facilitates Thai cooking lessons, for instance. Groups get a chance to prepare three homestyle Thai dishes using ingredients from a local market. This creates a memorable experience that also imparts real skills and knowledge.
Choosing a signature cocktail
A cocktail hour prior to dinner gives guests a chance to relax and unwind after the day and before settling down to dinner. A signature cocktail serves as a preamble to the event’s overall theme. A local DMC can help you develop a unique cocktail menu for your event. In general, a signature cocktail should complement the event’s theme using a unique glass, matching colors and vibrant flavors.
For example, you might choose a pineapple cocktail for a Hawaiian luau event.
Hors d’oeuvres and desserts
In addition to deciding on your main menu, you’ll also want to consider hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Each one should reflect the event’s theme. The hors d’oeuvres can give guests a preview of the meal to come while the desserts should offer a palate cleanser as well as a sweetness to close out the night. For example, a decorated tiered cake or a chocolate fountain could give guests a memorable moment at the end of the evening.
Make sure to take into consideration whether or not guests know one another and what the purpose of the event is prior to determining your seating arrangements. Also, determine in advance how much room you’ll need for performances and other activities. If dinner is served standing, you’ll want to ensure that there’s ample room for attendees to walk through the room. A local DMC can help you plan the best seating arrangement for your unique event.
Food brings people together and gives everyone a chance to make personal connections. Choosing food for your next corporate event requires careful planning. To learn more about how a local DMC can help you organize the perfect event with great food, reach out to the experts in our network today.