Healthy Food and Extra Surprises Rule the Conferences
Gone are the days of eating steak and potato salad at conferences and then leaving as soon as the conference was over. Nowadays, much more attention is paid to catering and the behaviour of the guests themselves has changed, as they welcome the opportunity to stay in the conference rooms longer than the programme itself.
Preparing a conference is not just about providing a suitable venue, an engaging, beneficial programme and guests. Catering also plays a big part in whether the conference is a success. A lot of people associate it only with refreshments, but in fact it is a comprehensive service that can make the meal a memorable experience. Thus, it includes not only the food served, but also the attire of the servers, the visuals of the plates, glasses and cutlery and much more.
Catering reflects the theme of the conference
There was a time when the food at conferences wasn't given as much attention. It was common to serve steak and salad or goulash and the main goal was to feed a large number of people. However, current trends in conference catering look very different. Richard Vála, manager of Foodway Catering confirms this: "Nowadays, there is much more focus on healthy eating. The organisers are thinking a lot about what food to offer to the participants. We also encounter the fact that they want to prepare the catering to match the focus of the conference. When the event is for doctors, for instance, we prepare healthy snacks, vegetable and fruit salads, brain foods, which are light nutritious meals that fill you up but don't put you to sleep. In the breaks, there are various dried fruits, nuts and healthy smoothies. The important thing is that there is a choice for everyone, both meat eaters and vegetarians or vegans."
The conference programme is not the end of the event
What has also changed in the last five years is that participants often want to stay at the conference venue after the conference is over. People have learned to network, to expand their contacts, but they also want to have a quiet chat and share their impressions. "For this purpose, we create so-called lunch zones where we serve canapés and cocktails on tables" Richard Vála shares his experience. The VIP section, which is only for a certain number of people, is a bonus experience in this respect. "People buy entry to the VIP area, where a special programme is prepared for them beyond the conference programme. It's a bit more lavish, and this is matched by the catering, which is very elaborate. On this occasion, we often use, for example, a carpaccio bar or a prosecco station, we distribute canapés" adds Richard Vála.
Attention to detail
It is not unusual for conferences to be planned several years in advance. The organisers try to surprise the participants with something, they want to make the event special, to embellish it in every detail. This also applies to the catering. "For example, we agree on how people will arrive and what will follow afterwards. We try to come up with something that will give the event a nice atmosphere, while adding value. For example, we like to use smoothie bikes, where everyone can "pedal" their own smoothie cocktail," concludes Richard Vála.