Event Planning: Meals for the Event Staff

Bento BoxIt's important that your event team be well nourished to maintain a high energy level. If on-site meals are not provided, this will reduce team productivity, as meal breaks have to be longer when travel and dining time will have to be incorporated into the schedule. And, for their own protection, event and conference planners should also remind all the entertainers, keynote speakers and facilitators they book to be sure to spell out their meal and refreshment requirements in contracts.

Meal Options for Various Venues

First, come to an agreement with the client for a reasonable meal allowance for each member of your team, whether staff brings its own meals and snacks, or has meals delivered. At trade shows, it is often possible to get clients to pay for vouchers so that staff can purchase meals at the food and beverage outlets of their choosing. Some venues will give permission for delivery of staff meals. If the event team is large, it may be possible to have the meals prepared and delivered by a caterer that supplies meals for airlines. At hotels, resorts and banquet facilities, affordable meals will have to be selected from the catering menu.

Always present clients with at least three options for staff meals, especially if there is resistance. Go easy on the carbs and fried food. Ensure that you provide fresh fruits, a generous helping of vegetables, juice and plenty of water.

Menu Suggestions

SandwichesThin crust pizzas are an affordable and filling alternative that can be customized with healthy choices. Perhaps because they have been served pizza too often, some event team members object to and even resent pizza. If this is the case with your team, you'll need to think "outside the box" to come up with menu options that are affordable enough to please your client and pleasing enough for your staff.

Here are some affordable menu choices that can be customized as chicken, beef and vegetarian options:

  • Stir-fry. One event venue I love offers delicious, affordable and filling stir-fry with rice or pasta.
  • Lasagna. (I am likely the only person in the world who doesn't like lasagna.)
  • Crew MealAssorted sandwiches or "wraps" platters. Manwiches, club sandwiches, and submarine sandwiches are filling yet affordable alternatives.
  • Jamaican patties are great for a light lunch or, for snacks. Small cocktail patties can be prepared in mild, moderate, spicy, chicken and vegetarian options.
  • Bento boxes.
  • Teriyaki.
  • Burgers.
  • Stroganoffs.
  • Stews.
  • Shepherd's pie.
  • Meat or vegetarian pies.
  • Build your own fajitas.
  • Chili.
  • A vegetable platter or salad bar can boost the nutritional value of any menu.
  • Soups.

For more ideas, consult with a caterer that specializes in cast and staff meals for the movie or airline industries.

Photo Credit: mhaithaca

Photo Credit: revrev

Photo Credit: yuichi.sakuraba

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