There’s one secret to guaranteeing the satisfaction of every attendee at your meeting: satisfying their appetites. Of course, the educational content, the meeting design and the networking opportunities are all essential parts of the experience, but each meal comes with serious expectations. As new flavors and new dietary needs shape the food and beverage landscape, though, those expectations are changing.
To get a sense of what’s next for catering menus, the International Association of Conference Centres conducted research among 400 of the organization’s members. Below, you’ll find a look at some of the most notable trends for 2015. Check out the full report here.
Desserts Are Shrinking.
Hold the massive slice of chocolate cake. While plenty of attendees love a sweet treat to close out the evening, IACC says that desserts are arriving in more manageable portions.
“Warm miniature house-made donuts, chocolate truffles, French macaroons, mini cupcakes and house-made cookies are top of the list for planners — taste and pleasure without the calories,” the IACC report states.
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Teamwork Is Making The Stomach Happy.
Conventions and meetings aren’t just about having an award-winning chef in the kitchen. Instead, many of them are trying to shape the next cast of Top Chef contestants.
“Having the opportunity to cook alongside colleagues can create a whole new appreciation for the hidden talents within an office environment or at a company outing,” IACC writes.
Chefs Are Striking Up Conversations.
While more attendees may be flexing their culinary muscles, chefs certainly aren’t disappearing. In fact, at some conferences, they’re playing an even bigger role as the face of the experience. IACC highlights that some planners are asking chefs to move from the back kitchen to the front of the house.
“Adding a chef interactive station accompanied with a highly personable chef can highlight the menu, underscore locally-sourced ingredients, as well as invite guest interaction in the creation of unique takes on selections such as a panini, clubhouse or slider,” the report states.
SEE ALSO: 8 More Food & Beverage Trends For 2015
Bartenders Are Getting Crafty.
As local ingredients continue to take over what’s on the plates at a conference, what’s behind the bar is changing, too. Attendees are increasingly finding opportunities to sample craft beers that may only be available in the meeting destination. IACC says that planners are looking to chefs and sommeliers for microbrew recommendations.
SEE ALSO: Get An Inside Look At The Craft Brewers Conference
Looking for ways to accommodate attendee dietary restrictions at your next meeting? Check out this F&B TV webinar for helpful advice.