Food can be a minefield at the best of times – especially if you’re tasked with ordering it for the office or an event. From catering for a wide range of diets to ensuring that no allergies are being activated, it can be a very challenging task, especially when you factor in the need to stick to a budget. However, good food can make a positive difference in any business meeting so it’s worth taking the time to get the ordering process right – these are our tips on how to achieve that.
Start by getting clear on the basics
The most important questions to get clarity on are how much budget is available and what type of food is going to be required. There is a big difference between sandwiches from a high street chain and a gourmet buffet. You’ll need to know how many people you’re catering for, whether the food is designed to be a full meal or just a snack as well as whether there are any serious allergies or dietary requirements to consider.
Where are you going to be serving it?
Some food choices are more appropriate for specific spaces – trying to serve a hot meal in a crowded room with little table space in the heat of summer, for example, can end up creating a negative experience for everyone. Is the meeting going to take place in a large conference room where there is plenty of space to lay out a buffet or small breakout areas where boxed lunches would work best?
Pick the type of food carefully
There are lots of different factors that are going to influence your choice when it comes to type of food – these are a few of them:
- Does the food align with your brand? You can use the food choices that you make to reinforce brand messaging, values and culture. For example, a vegan feast prepared by a company focused on sustainable sourcing might be more appropriate than boxes of pizza from a global chain.
- What time of day are you going to be serving the food? Cater to the specific occasion, whether that’s breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.
- How will the food impact those who consume it? Highly sugary snacks and sweets can seem like a good idea during long meetings but can mean that the people eating them experience serious dips in energy afterwards. Make sure you’ve got plenty of healthy options on the table, especially those that are going to help sustain people through the afternoon energy crash.
- What special diets do you need to consider? It’s really important to find out what the participants are likely to want to eat so that you don’t waste time and money on food that doesn’t appeal to anyone. This goes beyond allergies to include vegetarian or vegan, gluten or dairy-free diets and halal or kosher for example. People who don’t like sugar or carbs or those looking for healthy choices will see cakes and biscuits as an unhealthy choice. As a baseline, at least 25% of your order should be vegetarian and gluten free, just in case.
- Variety – the most common reason people get fed up with catering options is boredom of the same old spread. Working with a catering partner that varies its menus throughout the seasons and regularly updates choice, is a major factor in retaining long term diner interest.
Food can have an impact where business meetings are concerned – the right choices will ensure that this is positive. If you need help with your event or working lunch contact us or find out more here. For a sneak preview of our new ordering platform, read our news piece here.