by Loren G. Edelstein | February 01, 2013

• 72% of planners always ask attendees about dietary restrictions before a meeting or event.
• 41% will try to accommodate special requests but do not feel obligated if they haven’t been notified in advance.
• 45% now require venues or caterers to provide detailed labeling of all buffet items.
• 44% expect the chef to try to meet attendees’ specific requests without advance notice.
• 2% of meeting professionals agree with the statement: "I'm not running a restaurant...Attendees should expect to eat what they can of the meal provided."

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More than three-quarters of meeting professionals have seen a rise in the number of attendees' special dietary requests. Among the reasons cited is a growing awareness of allergies and diet-related sensitivities, cited by 80 percent of the 262 respondents to a recent M&C survey. Another 43 percent feel people have become pickier and more aggressive about asking for alternatives. Advance notice is a key factor in the ability to accommodate special requests, yet only 72 percent of planners always ask about F&B needs in advance, and 8 percent never do so. For more findings and verbatim comments, go to