5 Expert Tips for the Perfect Corporate Dining Experience

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“The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure no slight pleasure.”Michel de Montaigne

A corporate dining event is the perfect opportunity for open conversation over exquisite food. While business conversations are bound to emerge, corporate dining is also a great opportunity for employees to network, bond and create everlasting memories.

Plan the ideal corporate dining event for your company by applying our top 5 tips:

Locate the Perfect Venue

It’s important to take into consideration the number of participants you anticipate to entertain. If you plan to have a group of 15 or more, you absolutely want to consider a venue with adequate space and accommodations. A few things to consider:

  • Parking – Take a look into the venue’s parking availability and prepare ahead of time. Will there be enough parking? Is there a cost to park? Would a shuttle or carpooling system be best for this venue?
  • Private rooms – Look into renting private rooms for a cozier setting. Private settings offer hosts and guests the ability to better manage external and internal noise levels.
  • Outdoor patios and lounge – Patios and lounge areas located outside the main dining area can offer your guests beautiful skyline views, the opportunity to take a breath of of fresh air, and to allow your guests to relax into a more comfortable, casual atmosphere. Don’t forget to plan for colder or warmer weather!

A larger venue space will also allow guests to have more elbow room to relax, mingle and enjoy the festivities.

Survey Your Employees for Meal Preferences

What’s a party without great food! Keep guests happy by taking into consideration various meal options that will cater to even the pickiest of eaters. A good way to avoid making someone feel left out is by asking guests to provide you with any food restrictions or allergies. Better yet, offer a selection of meal options and allow guests to choose from the options provided. Keep in mind some of the following:

  • Food Allergies – Offer substitutes for food items that contain gluten, soy, or nuts.
  • Vegetarian and Vegan Options – Allow guest to choose from various options that exclude meat, dairy, and other animal products.
  • Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Drinks – A great addition to a delectable meal can include various wines and champagnes. Check out the Guide to Pairing Wine with Food for more ideas! Lastly, for guests who would prefer something other than wine or champagne, offer tasty ciders or fruit-infused water as a fun alternative.

Don’t forget to ask the venue coordinator for additional assistance with food and drink choices!

To Create or Not Create: The Seating Chart

Can’t decide on how to tackle the hassle of creating a seating chart? Take into account the following to decide whether or not a seating plan is right for your party:

For larger parties, prevent possible disorganization and cluttering by using seating charts.
To give guests the flexibility of choosing their preferred spot, while still maintaining organization, offer assigned tables in lieu of assigned seating.

Assigned seating can be helpful with buffet-style dining, so that guests don’t feel anxious at finding a seat while carrying food and drink. In addition, assigned seating can help keep guests who are familiar or acquainted with each other from being seated with total strangers. This can be particularly helpful for persons that are shy.

Encourage a Theme

A fun way to loosen your guests up is to introduce a theme. Take into consideration some of the following themes to encourage participation and excitement:

  • Holiday Theme – Christmas and New Years holidays are a time of cheer and laughter. Get innovative by inviting guests to let out their creative side!
  • Masquerade – Leave the gown and tux behind! Drape the venue with elegant lighting and invite guests to bring their own masks. Provide a few extra ones at the door for those who leave their masks behind.
  • Color Coded – Use corporate or company colors to decorate a venue space. Also invite guests to wear something with a specific color or colors in mind!

Design a Flexible Floor Plan

Once you’ve chosen your venue, take into consideration a proper layout of seating, food placement, and amenities to avoid disorganization and chaos. Keep the following in mind:

  • Obtain proper attendance to avoid cramped seating and entertainment
  • Allow space for visual and audio aides, such as lighting, projectors, sound equipment, live bands, microphones, etc…
  • Designate a space for guests to leave behind their jackets, coats, and scarves, if needed.
  • Allow easy access to restrooms and outdoor patio and lounge areas

Hopefully our top tips on corporate dining will help you get started when planning your next event. Contact our wonderful party and venue consultants at Watermark Restaurant for more information!

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