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As we move towards the Fall Season, at Bright Ideas we are thinking about the final touches we can add to our clients’ upcoming Christmas Parties to make them truly special. One often-overlooked location to make your events spectacular is the food stations. This is a place where guests gather to enjoy delicacies, socialize, and exchange small talk. Why not make this part of the event memorable?

We recently read an article in Biz Bash and it perfectly illustrates this point.
(Photos are courtesy of Biz Bash – www.bizbash.com)

Make your food stations (be it buffets or grazing stations) majestic and show stopping. Planners of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s annual Rammy award gala accomplished what all planners hope for at their food-focused events: no line-ups at any food station. Organization president Kathy Hollinger moved the June 22 event to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, adding 15,000 square feet to the footprint and tripling the number of four-sided food pavilions. Imagine this – a four sided buffet. An event planners dream!

“The one issue we always had, and always knew, was the number of people we had attend and the format with the few different food pavilions led to a large amount of lines,” Whyte said. “The square footage [at the convention center] allowed us to add a ton more food and drink options and locations to lead to pretty much zero lines.”

Planners used the space to add more food pavilions and encourage sponsors to increase their square footage. The larger food pavilions were sponsored by foreign embassies, tourism boards, airlines, and organizations representing food and wine purveyors who come together to represent a nation. Pavilions were set up on opposite ends of the ballroom serving the same dishes, cutting down the lines at each, and saving guests from having to trek across the vast space.

This concept can easily be adapted to your next Christmas event, client appreciation, or any function with food stations throughout the venue. Consider your next event and think about what you want to showcase INSIDE your food stations. We love the height of these structures and really ‘the ceiling is the limit’. If you are a lumber business, how about piling up different grades of your lumber to make an interesting Jenga display? Or, if you are in the clothing industry, why not suspend the latest fall fashions from clotheslines above the food stations for maximum visibility?

Understanding that your food station is prime real estate at your next event opens up a world of possibilities for food, décor, and branding to stand out. So next time you are drawing up a floor plan, make sure food station décor offers guests a taste of innovation. I know we are certainly thinking this way!

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