While technological advancements and the nature of modern business interactions have reduced the amount of face-to-face time we spend with each other at events, trade shows and conferences, there truly is no substitute for being at a live event in person—interacting and networking with colleagues, peers and friends. And a key aspect of any successful meeting or trade show is the food.
The food and beverage offerings at a venue are a crucially important part of any meeting, conference or convention. Often, event delegates rank networking atop their list of most important reasons for attending and industry event. And the bulk of these conversations take place over meals, breaks or an opening/closing gala. Outside of networking purposes, though, any event wants to have delicious food and friendly service. These are key pillars of event hospitality, and also a key facet of the value we provide at Centerplate.
But first, let’s take a step back.
As the food and beverage partner of about 300 venues throughout North America and a global leader in live event hospitality for more than 100 million guests annually, Centerplate is ahead of the curve when it comes to catering and hospitality trends.
Our venues include prominent entertainment, sports and convention venues, and we have served 30 official U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls, 14 Super Bowls, 22 World Series and a plethora of other marquee events throughout each calendar year. In fact, in 2020, we will add our 15th Super Bowl to that list, when we host Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
When it comes to hospitality, we know what it takes to manage and curate a modern hospitality operation. It must be guest-centric, more than anything, and it must be authentic and carefully curated. Food and beverage providers must seek to enhance the events and communities they serve. So, it is important to create positive relationships with local and regional producers, suppliers, and partners. And, it is key to grow the business and treat guests with an authentic, high-quality taste of the respective city.
Here are a few best practices when it comes specifically to dining at your event. Adhering to these four tips will help reinforce the connection with and among your guests, so that you make the time your guests spend together more enjoyable and more valuable.
1. Connect people to places
Every venue today is competing for business and visitors from today’s vast global marketplace. The hospitality offering has the power to connect people to paces in a deeply engaging and personal way. When you design and prepare with the soul of the city in mind, each individual element becomes part of the overall aura of how a place feels.
2. Set your city apart. Embrace its quirks, and what makes it unique
Do what it takes for the food and beverage offering to be offered in seasonal menus that are distinct to that respective city. Presented always in the most creative ways, and bursting with regional flavors, the menus for an event should reflect a steadfast commitment to natural ingredients and house-made preparations.
3. Support and be a catalyst for the local community
Every every hospitality program should be sure to invest time and energy into curating local relationships. Get to know the groups who are the lifeblood of the region. Foster connections with the people around you, as this will make for a long-term benefit for each of you.
4. Embrace your talent and staff—they are what make the true difference
You have to be wholly dedicated to the craft of hospitality, and that means investing in top talent and providing the training/ tools for success. It’s one thing to have high standards, but you also have to hold each employee accountable, everyone from the general manager to line-level culinary employees to catering sales directors.
And, on the topic of talent, it sure doesn’t hurt to invest in a talented chef!