The meeting delegate is continually shining a spotlight on you, the meeting planner, and your every decision is being judged; especially when choosing your food and beverage for your events. We’ve all seen (and groaned) over the post-event surveys that complained about the food. For reasons still unknown, it’s what some of your delegates take away from your event. All the while, your budget is not stretching out any further, and rare wines served with AAA grade beef steaks is just not on your menu.
The Planner’s recent conference included a brainstorm of elite Canadian planners on saving money on food and beverage, all the while maintaining a level of quality and experience. If you save money in some areas, you may be able to enhance the experience with some creativity. Here are some of their ideas:
- be realistic with your guarantees – use your event history as a guide
- chat with the chef about in-season selections and modifying menus to fit within your budget
- order items by consumption (ie bottled pops and juices) versus per person
- find a local winery or microbrewery to help sponsor some of your liquor costs
- limit cocktail times and consumption by host bar versus cash bar
- avoid hard liquor and mixed drinks – stick to beer and wine only, and no salty snacks
- use leftover opened wine bottles in the hospitality suite
- eliminate bottled water – use water coolers instead
- ask hotel to serve the dessert from lunch to be served at the afternoon break
- choose a moderate lunch menu option (soup, sandwich, salad) on the last day of the conference – many people leave early
I also have a great checklist for planning food and beverage – email me and I’m happy to send along. Enjoy!