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Designing the perfect event menu is not something you learn overnight. It is something that comes with experience and learning by trial and error. Follow along as I share my process of curating the best event menus possible for my clients and tips for the best practices and common mistakes to avoid.

How do you select the proper menu type for your event?

There are many different factors to consider when deciding what type of foodservice and event menu is best for your corporate event. To begin, I always recommend surveying your guests in advance to discover what type of food to include in the menu. From there, you can create a customized menu that is tailored to your guest’s preferences and dietary restrictions.

Choosing your menu based on your event type

When deciding the perfect event menu for your event, it is essential to consider the type of event you are planning. Consider the event agenda and your venue. What do you have time and space for?

Suppose you are planning a corporate event with a program that is primarily focused on the stage, such as an awards ceremony. In that case, I recommend a sit-down, plated meal. Buffets are also a great option if your agenda has more flexibility and you have enough space. Buffets are also a cost-efficient option for larger events. Finally, food stations are a great option if your event is centralized around networking. Food stations allow your guests to come and go as they please as well, and provide the flexibility to roam the room and mingle. 

Now that you have a clear idea of what type of foodservice is ideal for your event I recommend reviewing some of these common mistakes and my suggested best practices when curating the best event menu for your clients.

Best Practices

  • Take into consideration the timing of everything. Buffets cannot open when the speeches are starting on the stage. 
  • Consider your audience. Do they like food stations where they stand and eat?
  • Consider your event space. Will buffets fit?
  • Take into consideration your event agenda. What are the key events on the agenda?
  • Vary the height of the dishes
  • Separate food from beverage
  • Always plan for vegetarian or gluten-friendly options for main dishes

Common Mistakes To Avoid

  • Appetizers that are too large or messy. Liquids can easily drip onto the guest’s apparel
  • Putting plates, utensils, and napkins in the wrong spot
  • Forgetting to have food cards. Label food dishes with names & dietary restrictions
  • Putting the buffet tables against a wall. Consider having 360 degrees access for better service.
  • Not putting condiments near the food they go with. i.e.) Butter belongs with buns
  • Not considering dietary restrictions

Sharon’s event tip: A fun and vibrant idea for your buffet and food stations is to incorporate a theme in the decor. For example, if you are planning a seafood station, incorporate elements of the ocean into the decor!

Seafood as part of an event menu

When designing the proper event menu, I always recommend ensuring the menu flows seamlessly with your event. Be sure to include food selections and decor that fit your event theme and purpose well. To ensure your guests have a memorable experience, I recommend providing them with a sensory journey through their food and the event menu.

Are you looking for some more guidance on how to plan the proper menu for your event? We’d love to help you! Our team has designed thousands of event menus over the years, and we are happy to guide you through your catering selections with our event consulting services. With our event consulting services, you can pick and choose from our a-la-carte menu where you need the most assistance for your event. Fill out a quote request form today to get started!

Follow along with this 10-part event consulting series below:

Event Consulting Series | Designing a Corporate Event Décor Strategy

Event Consulting Series | Choosing Your Event Theme

Event Consulting Series | Selecting The Perfect Corporate Event Venue 

Event Consulting Series | Event Consulting vs. Event Producing 

Introducing The Bright Ideas Event Consulting Series

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