Ninety-three per cent of all event bookers and PAs surveyed by central London venue, BMA House, agreed that poor catering reflects badly on an event.
Food is top of the meetings agenda with 31% agreeing it was what they most look forward to when attending an event, followed by learning something new (29%). Almost half the participants said they’d rather be ‘late home’ than have bad food during a meeting or conference away from the office. Interestingly alcohol, with just 11%, was what people looked forward to least at an event.
Rebecca Hurley, deputy head of events for BMA House said: “It’s obvious from these results that, in the eyes of the delegates, food can make or break your event. There’s more to food than filling mouths, it’s about making a lasting impression on your delegates and setting the tone of the event.”
Even though 97% of meetings and events professionals said healthy eating is always or sometimes important to them, the survey revealed that when it comes to out of office events, sweet treats are still welcome.
- 44% wanted pastries for breakfast rather than a healthier fruit (28%) or granola (28%);
- 60% said they would like a selection of muffins and pastries over fruit (21%) or biscuits (19%) for elevenses;
- 50% said that chocolate was their favourite type of biscuit while at an event, with 39% wanting a healthy biscuit option and 11% saying they never eat biscuits;
Asked about fruit at an event, the most popular choice was grapes, cherries and strawberries (44%) and 27% wanted their fruit dipped in chocolate. Just 3% preferred whole fruit that delegates would have to peel themselves.
Hurley added: “Your delegates want delicious food that’s a little bit indulgent, they want something they wouldn’t usually choose for themselves or have in their everyday life. Intriguingly this indulgence doesn’t include chips!”
The most popular food for lunchtime was buffet food (48%) with sandwiches being the least preferred option (15%).
When asked how they like to have their lunch, buffet style was the clear favourite with 59% and hot food (26%) won out over cold food (20%). Interestingly, while delegates seem to have a sweet tooth at an event, they would rather have a salad (11%) with their lunch than chips (5%).