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Tips For “Foolproof” Corporate Dining


Planning meals for groups and taking into account many different taste buds and prefer- ences can be a tall order, but these hospitality and food industry professionals gladly offer some tips to make this task one that can be enjoyable by planning ahead. Here, they have provided a few suggestions that have worked well for other planners and culminated in suc- cessful dining events.


When planning a meal, remember that diet restrictions are common, and it’s wise to find that information out prior to the event. Restaurants should be able to accommodate vegetarian-only and gluten-free dishes. Getting that information at the beginning helps in planning, lets the attendees know their needs are important, and doesn’t leave room for surprises on the day of the event.


According to Karen Mandel of Normandy Farm, home to the farmer’s daughter restaurant, the


work well with locally grown meats, pro- duce and poultry.


Drexelbrook works with clients to create custom menu pairing, such as slow- braised short rib in brioche with melted brie paired with 2SP Brewing Company’s (of Aston, PA) Delco Lager.


Gluten-free menu items also continue to be a necessity at each event. When planners host holiday parties, they may not be informed of employees who want these choices, so each event is catered with a great-tasting, gluten-free option.


The quest for more local foods on the menu has led several restaurants to tend their own gardens, open farms, and grow herbs and veggies on their premis- es. Reaping harvests from these gardens helps to supply the restaurants, and makes the trip from the “farm” to the table a short one!


Lenora Kruk-Mullanaphy has extensive public relations experience in the hospitality industry,


having worked with the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority and Morton's The Steakhouse. lmullanaphy@gmail.com


Join­our­loyalty­program­and­receive­5%­cash­back Mid-Atlantic­EvENts Magazine 57


style of service, such as plated, buffet or cock- tail reception usually will drive the menu selec- tion. She also suggested asking for a tasting ahead of the event.


Mandel advised to consider all of the guests’ dining preferences, too, offering items for veg- etarians and making sure that the caterer can tailor the menu for specific dietary requests.


“Factor in your budget,” she said. “You may want to start with your ‘all in’ budget, and work your way backward. In addition, set parameters for alcohol consumption for both a safety and budgetary concern. Decide between an open bar, cash bar or drink tickets - and make sure to know your options.”


Domenick Savino of Drexelbrook said that cor- porate events can be fun and successful from a planning standpoint when there is clarity between the caterer and/or venue and the


planner. He said some of the most important information includes the goal of the event and the desired “take-away.”


Savino said the budget is extremely important to know upfront so that pricing estimates for an event will not exceed the budget. In addi- tion, knowing the number of guests will ensure a comfortable experience for attendees.


“Keep your brand first in order that your employees will remember the event was made possible by the company,” Savino said. “Incorporate surprises and changes during the event to keep it interesting.”


Combining eating and entertainment to make “eat-ertainment” is a hot new trend. An increased demand for exhibition or action sta- tions allows the customer to view each ingre- dient and its freshness, as well.


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