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Fuel Your Foodies without Breaking the Bank

Something planners have known for generations is that meaningful meetings are powered by personal relationships. One of the easiest ways to achieve a relaxed, natural networking environment is around a meal. From light snacks to lavish spreads, there’s a feeling of community centered around food. It’s natural, it’s relaxed – but it can be expensive.

So how do we, as business event managers, break bread without breaking the bank? We have some answers for you (with a side of sustainability!).

Navigate for Cost Effective Options

  • Get your catering contact on board with your vision and budget right from the start to ensure you are both on the same page and have a great experience together!
  • Create custom menus based on items the venue already offers.
  • Rethink serving size. The soup course from a plated menu may be reimagined as shot-sized during a grazing meal to serve more people with less food cost.

Phone a (Sponsor) Friend

  • Allow vendors, association member companies, and local companies to promote their services to your attendees through F&B sponsorships.
  • Consider additional sponsorships via companies that could benefit from exposure to your group.
  • Additional sponsorships can be realized through companies that want to support your cause.  Search for companies whose charitable goals align with yours.

Mindful Meals

  • We eat with our eyes first. Use smaller platters and trays displayed beautifully over a wider space and refresh only as needed.
  • Utilize a family-style service, which can make meals feel less stodgy, more fun and also maximizes smaller amounts of expensive protein.
  • Present interactive appetizers or family-style desserts as a centerpiece to save on floral costs.
  • Take a low-cost classic and dress it up. For example, transform peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by offering a variety of breads, nut butters and jams.

Embrace Zero Waste

Food-waste reduction is increasingly important for both venues and planners.  Food donation services continue to be developed, such as Waste No Food, COPIA, Food Runners and Spoiler Alert.

  • Check with your venue, local food banks or food rescue operations to find out how and what they’ll donate and accept.
  • Connect with local farms, as many utilize left over food as compost material.
  • It’s tried and true for good reason – water and juice stations served with re-usable bottles to replace bottled waters are very cost effective and better for the environment!

Event designers and planners, what food and beverage challenges are you struggling with? What have you been working on to solve these challenges? Let’s ‘break bread’ together. Share and comment below to help solve problems, think differently and inspire our industry!

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