By Yvette Chatwin, general manager, 30 Euston Square
Location and price continue to reign supreme when it comes to organisers’ preferences for venue selection. Commercially this is expected but typically one of the first questions a delegate will be asked is… how was the food? It’s the food people remember; therefore should menu choice be pushed higher up the priority list?
Menu choice is one of the biggest decisions an organiser makes when it comes to instilling a positive event experience. Not because it specifically helps with knowledge retention (though some studies recommend there’s brain food for this) but because it is what everyone talks about on the way home. Delegates will be asked was the venue good and it is the food that will stand out, for right or wrong reasons.
So, what drives menu decisions and choices? We recently undertook some research where 94 of our clients provided insight into what matters and what doesn’t. As expected, price tops the chart, with 37.23% rating it as the most important factor, beating main ingredients (meat, fish, vegetarian etc) into second place at 21.28%. A further 10.64% considered food miles most important and surprisingly only 8.51% were concerned about healthiness.
Price being the number one factor doesn’t come as a particular surprise in the current economic climate. However, it is vital to realise that whilst the actual booker of a meeting room and lunch menu might know a budget option has been chosen, the delegates themselves may have higher expectations. The best venues understand that it doesn’t matter which option has been chosen, they strive to provide a positive event experience by providing an array of choice across every menu.
To help us stand out, our creative chefs at 30 Euston Square have designed menus to reflect delegate needs across all price points. Our lowest priced lunch goes far beyond just a simple sandwich and crisps, catering to our audience and understanding the growing need for healthy options such as superfoods, grains and plenty of fresh ingredients.
Organisers and venues need to work closely together to ensure that under even the strictest of budgets; delegates and attendees are given choice despite budgetary restraints because it will ensure they go home with a positive perception of the entire event and fundamentally, the venue. They need to feel valued and the right choice of menu can add so much value, having a long term impact. After all, location and accessibility might be at the top of most organisers lists when choosing a venue, but don’t forget that it’s the food that will be remembered.