Who decides what attendees will eat? A majority
of planners (62 percent) personally approve the final event menu,
according to an online survey of 442 meetings professionals
conducted in December by M&C and NTM Research. To create the
menu, 60 percent of respondents modify the catering options
provided by the venue.
For banquets, 64 percent of respondents say plated service,
where each person is given a plate that has been prepared in the
kitchen, works best. Another 33 percent prefer buffet-style meals,
either served or self-service.
Interestingly, although the majority of
planners (78 percent) say they sometimes theme their F&B
events, for every planner who always themes the event (8 percent)
there are nearly another two (14 percent) who never do.
For receptions, buffet-style is preferred by 29 percent of those
polled, while 18 percent favor passed hors d’oeuvres. More than
half (53 percent) favor a combination of the two.
The survey showed a wide range for when planners finalize
banquet event orders. One-third finish them up a week before the
event, and nearly as many (32 percent) do so two weeks out. Another
25 percent submit their final BEOs a full month out.
Because one meal never pleases all, 74 percent of planners
arrange for vegetarian dishes to be available. Among other dietary
options offered: kosher meals (31 percent); low-fat (23 percent);
diabetic (20 percent); low-carbohydrate (19 percent); and low-salt
(12 percent). Surprisingly, 18 percent of respondents report they
don’t provide any alternatives for attendees with special dietary