By Richard Harrison, head of conference centres at Warwick Conferences
Since the early-2000s, when Jamie Oliver first took over the television screens, food has become an increasingly important element in everyone’s daily life. Event organisers understand that through providing an exceptional feast they can really add value to a delegate’s experience, so they’re able to enjoy their day feeling fueled and not frustrated.
Following our initial Value of Satisfaction report in 2013, this become even more apparent: 79% of respondents stated they’ve been disappointed with the catering on offer at meetings and events venues and, more than half confirmed that appropriate catering would lead them to feel satisfied about an event. In 2015, the news wasn’t much more encouraging: 40% still report that catering problems, such as poor quality or inflexible times, had a detrimental effect on events.
As guests are exposed to more eateries than ever before, they are hungry for that restaurant-quality, high-street feel to be part of their conference and events experience.
Delegates don’t leave their lifestyle choices at the door and they expect an uncompromised experience whether they have special dietary requirements or simply would like to know where their food has come from. With increasingly high demands, delegates’ requests help to push boundaries and ultimately raise the bench mark of what makes a great conference.
Warwick Conferences’ award-winning catering team cook most of the dishes in-house, meaning they have the flexibility to create seasonal menus or bespoke packages rather than having a prescribed offering. When chefs cook with fresh, seasonal and quality produce, they take more pride in their work and, there is no need to use any undesirable additives, genetically modified or artificial products.
Just recently, Warwick Conferences were awarded the Bronze level accreditation with the Soil Association’s Food For Life Catering Mark in recognition of its commitment to ethical, sustainable and fresh food. The Soil Association has exacting standards which the venues’ lunch and dinner menus have met.
Each of Warwick Conferences’ venues take pride in their food offering, highlighting the produce that is in-season and showcasing its provenance. The kitchen team use free range eggs from Seven Acre’s farm just 1.5 miles down the road. Where possible, vegetables are supplied by E. Sidwell in Leamington Spa; all of the meats meet the animal welfare standards and; the fish is consciously sourced making sure it is not on the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘fish to avoid’ list.
In a highly competitive industry, Warwick Conferences continue to forge ahead competing with world-class venues and first-class service.