Catering Tips for Large Conferences

So you’ve picked the right conference venue, you’ve hired your speakers and you’ve set up the technology for the event. One of the only things left to think about is the food that your conference guests will be enjoying during your event.

Catering Tips for Large Conferences - Richmond Convention Center

The food can be a very important part of a conference and it can make a big impact on guest enjoyment. If your conference has lack lustre food it can be disappointing for your guests, but if the food is amazing it will really enhance their experience.

Catering for a large conference can be a serious undertaking and will need a lot of planning. It’s hard enough making dinner for four people when you have guests over to your home, imagine the amount of work that goes into making food for hundreds of people! Here are some important tips that you should keep in mind when catering for large conferences, such as those at the Greater Richmond Convention Center or at Carden Park in Cheshire.

How to Cater for Large Conferences

  • The first step is to plan ahead as much as possible. Nothing should be left to chance and everything about the meal should be decided beforehand so that it can be carried out smoothly.
  • You will need to know all of your numbers. How many will be attending the event? How long will they be staying? These numbers are important when you are figuring out your budget and your menus.
  • The next step is to figure out a budget. It is important to figure this out in advance, so that you can stick to looking at caterers that are in your price range and you don’t get carried away.
  • If you really love the look of a menu but your budget just won’t stretch to cover it, you can talk to the event team at the venue. Often, they will be able to offer you a more budget friendly option that will not compromise on quality.
  • It can be helpful to encourage people to register online so that you will get a better idea of the number of attendees. You can ask people to specify whether they will be arriving in time for breakfast or not, so you know how many people you will need to cater for.
  • Do your research when it comes to choosing a catering company. In most areas there will be several to choose from, so take your time and find the one that will offer you the best food at the most reasonable price.
  • Think about where the meal will be served. Should it be served in the restaurant, or in the meeting room, or in a different place off site? Will lunch be a quick buffet, or is it a networking event on its own?
  • Consider having lunch in a different area than the meeting is being held in. This gives people a chance to have a break, a change of scenery and an opportunity to digest the information that they have taken in. Most Cheshire conference venues will have many dining areas and rooms to choose from.
  • Ask others in the area to recommend a good catering company to you. You can hear about their experiences and know whether they are worth booking with.
  • Will it be important for the event you are planning that the food is made with locally sourced ingredients? If so, you can look for a caterer who certifies this and works with local suppliers.
  • There could be people attending your conference who are vegan or vegetarian or who have food allergies, so make sure that you account for this when you are choosing the menu. There should be a good choice of meat free, gluten-free and other options for your guests. Also, ask guests to let you know in advance of a specific food allergy so that you can be ready to provide for them.
  • Think about providing food that will keep people alert and energized throughout the day. Serving sugary donuts as a mid-morning snack is a great way to make sure people have a sugar rush and then a crash. Instead, serve healthy fruit so that your guests can enjoy slow-releasing energy.
  • Consider holding the conference at a dedicated conference venue, which will be well versed in catering for business events of all sizes.

These are just a few important tips to keep in mind when it comes to catering large conferences, so that you can keep your guests well fed and happy!

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5 Comments

  1. Good reminder to make a list of foods that guests are allergic to. That’s a good way to avoid any problems when the event rolls around.

  2. Hope you had a great birthday! Did you get a big event like this. That would have been nice huh!

    • LOL Sandra no – not this year … maybe next year for my 50th birthday he’ll rent the Richmond Conference Center out for my birthday lol!

  3. You are so right. Good food makes a large event top notch. I've experienced both great food and some not so great and my memories of the former are much more positive.

  4. Such great tips!! Conferences and any large events can be so super stressful! Thanks for the awesome tips!!

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