This checklist was compiled with
the assistance of ME Productions (www.meproductions.com), an event firm based in
Pembroke Park, Fla.
RESTAURANTSWhen selecting dine-around venues, take into account the
demographics of the group (age, gender, etc.) as well as the
purpose of the event.Work with restaurants that understand group business and have
dine-around experience.Make sure the atmosphere of prospective sites corresponds with
and complements the group's corporate culture, the event's theme
and/or local color.Determine a budget in advance, and find out if prospective
participating restaurants can work within those limits.Determine how many restaurants will be needed for the
event.Do the venues have private rooms? What is the largest group
they can accommodate?Does each venue have the appropriate staffing levels? Can they
provide the group with dedicated staff?Decide if an open or cash bar - or a combination of the two -
will best suit your needs. Consider limiting drinks to beer and
wine if cost is a factor.If the space booked is outdoors, does the restaurant have
backup space indoors in the event of inclement weather?In advance, ask attendees to choose (from a list) the type of
cuisine or restaurant they prefer for the dine-around; also ask if
they have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. Ensure that
the restaurants selected will be able to accommodate these
needs.Hold a tasting at each prospective restaurant. Ask the chef
about any special menu recommendations for the group.
Assign diners to different venues
based on their pre-selected cuisine or restaurant preference.
Set up a pre-dinner cocktail
reception at the headquarters hotel. This gives some food and
beverage business to the hotel for that evening and, more
importantly, provides attendees with an opportunity for networking
before going off to different venues for dinner.
Customize the event by providing
menus that include one or more of the following components: the
client's logo, the meeting's theme or even next year's marketing
To enhance the dining experience,
consider adding live music or other entertainment, décor, entry
signage, specialty linens and centerpieces with candles.
Consider having servers welcome
guests with pre-poured libations and hors d'oeuvres.
Wines should be chosen well in
advance to give the venue time to purchase the selected vintages in
ample quantities for your group.
Proofread all printed menus for errors.
If time is an issue, request that
restaurant staff pre-set as much as possible in order to expedite
Divide event staff into two teams
for the dine-around. One team should travel about an hour in
advance of the groups to ensure the restaurants are on schedule and
tables are properly set with custom menus. The other team should
coordinate the transfer from the hotel(s) and escort each group to
the selected restaurants.
Make sure one staff member is
on-site at each restaurant during the event to handle any needs or
concerns that might arise. This individual also can assist the
group with information on shuttle departures and tips on