As something most working adults can relate to, the average business meeting can be a trying event. Going over spreadsheet after spreadsheet, pouring over trends and graphs, and the seemingly endless slideshows can be dreadful. To help combat the monotony of the situation, most companies will entice workers and clients to hang tough by providing a catered lunch. A great meal can always help a meeting go smoother and faster, although there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind to insure a catered lunch doesn’t do more harm then good.
Keep The Portions Small
Catering a successful business lunch means understanding that the meal will always play second fiddle to the goals of the meeting itself. That means that it’s not the best idea to plan an elaborate, four-course meal complete with appetizers and dessert. The best alternative would be to plan a menu with the food business around smaller “finger foods” like tea sandwiches, sushi, sliders, and kebabs. This way, attendees can easily enjoy lunch while still tackling business at hand. For example, the Classic Chicken Club sandwich picture below is a perfect example of the type of entrée that works great for a business meeting. [Image Credit: Bistro Boudin]
Avoid The Heavy Foods
We have all had the feeling before; that post-meal lethargic feeling after a heavy lunch that can make the second half of the workday slow to a crawl. It’s the fatty, starchy foods like pasta and pastries that contribute to that feeling. When it comes to planning a menu for a business lunch, you definitely don’t want to serve foods that will have folks nodding off during PowerPoint presentations. Its crucial to plan the menu around lighters foods like salads, veggies, chicken or fish. As for snacking during the meeting, try swapping cheese and crackers for a dip platter of vegetables and hummus.
Avoid Serving Alcohol
Having a drink or two, while it can be appropriate when on a general “meet-and-greet” type lunch with clients, should generally be avoided during more official business meetings. It goes back to the idea that the idea that the lunch menu should complement the meeting, not interfere with it. Attendees getting a bit tipsy could definitely derail the overall goals.
Less Mess is Best
As much as many of us love a pasta dish with a heavy helping of sauce, those kinds of dishes can be a disaster for business lunches. A sauce stain on a new tie, or a helping of Alfredo lodged in the keyword of a laptop can put a damper on the event and distract from the presentation of purpose of the gathering.