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Things to Focus on When Planning a Major Event – Part 1 of 4

Welcome to Part 1 of our 4 Part Blog Series! We are pleased to offer our readers insight into the key things we consider when planning corporate events at Bright Ideas. This week will focus on Food & Beverages.

One of our favorite parts of the planning process is developing a perfect menu for the event, along with signature drinks. It involves food – and who doesn’t love food? However, it’s also the one of the main elements people remember, so menu selection is critical. It requires a strategic focus and lots of creativity.

Important considerations for menu planning are:

Establishing Your Event Goals

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Beyond the overall event goals, we define the goals for each meal function, to assist us when making our menu decisions. If the goal of an evening dinner is networking, a reception format with food stations will be more successful than a plated dinner. If the goal of a lunch is for teams to work together on a project, consider offering family-style dining at the table or a build-your-own sandwich buffet. And always keep the timing of the event in mind and plan the agenda accordingly, so that guests are not famished by meal time.

Considering your Agenda


Certain foods will make your attendees feel different ways. For example, heavy starches make guests feel tired and full, whereas protein options like chicken or fish will give energy for a day of meetings and breakout sessions. If your sessions run into the early evening, consider skipping the temporary sugar high that cookies and brownies at the afternoon break could provide (because they’ll also provide a crash soon after). Offer nuts, fruits, or veggies instead, for natural energy.

If you are planning an evening reception, it’s best to offer the food mid-way through the programme, to ensure that all guests have the opportunity to eat. Setting out the food out too soon means running the risks of latecomers going home hungry

Choosing Seasonal Foods

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In the modern world, seasonal eating is an idea that went away, but it’s making a comeback! Creating an event menu based on what’s fresh, local, and in season is becoming more common. Not only does it offer opportunities to showcase familiar ingredients in new and interesting recipes it can bring benefits to your budget and the overall event experience.

Seasonal foods…

  • Offer the most flavor, as they are harvested at their peak
  • Deliver the biggest nutritional punch leaving guests feeling charged, healthy and in a good mood
  • Are great for your budget – seasonal foods are cheaper than those out of season!

Remembering your Audience

In very broad terms, a male-dominated audience may skew more towards a familiar ‘meat and potatoes’ menu than a primarily female demographic, but don’t assume this to be so. It can vary according to the crowd, depending on industry, age, and overall demographics. The more on-trend your audience tends to be, the more likely they’ll be self-professed “foodies” – expecting a unique food experience when they socialize. Mixing textures, spices, and flavours are what guests expect nowadays. Gone are the days of predictable menus, unless of course you are talking about a ‘Build Your Own Sundae Bar’. Those appeal to the kid in all of us!

Knowing What is Trendy?

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Ask your event planner! We are constantly on the look out for the latest trends to WOW our clients with something they have never seen before. Food is no exception. In fact, the amount of creativity involved in menu selection is endless, from selection of trendy ingredients to food presentation. We are constantly reading articles like this piece in the Globe and Mail considering Vancouver food trends and following what is hot in the world of food.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of our 4 Part Blog Series – ‘Selecting the Perfect Entertainment’ on Friday, November 28, 2014.

If you would like a quote for your next event call us at 604.303.7707 or Request a Quote today. We would love to share our “bright ideas” with you!

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