How to Choose the Best Dining Style for Your Corporate Event

Corporate Event – how to create meaningful experience choosing the perfect dining style.

When organising a corporate event you already know to take into account the time of day, the number of attendees, the preferred location and the type of event whether it be a board meeting or a product launch. Choosing the best dining style for your corporate event is equally important and can heavily influence the event success.

Buffet or high tea? Sit-down meal or canapes? How do you choose the best dining style? To assist, Chefin has put together an overview of the different dining styles and the occasions they are most suitable for.

Corporate event ideas:

  • traditional sit-down meal
  • buffet
  • canapes and finger food
  • grazing table
  • high Tea
  • individual dining boxes

The traditional sit-down meal

The traditional sit-down meal, where diners are typically served a preselected meal. For effective corporate event, the tables need to be large enough to accommodate all the cutlery, glassware and tableware, and consideration needs to be given to the table styling. The venue should be large enough to allow sufficient room to move between tables to allow for efficient delivery of food and drinks. Larger venues often have the advantage of a more kitchen space for preparation of meals but may require additional wait-staff as everyone will expect to eat at the same time.

Sit-down meals are suitable for longer functions and where attendees may be required to focus their attention towards a stage or screen, such as fundraising events or presentation ceremonies, although care should be given to seating to ensure everyone has an adequate view. Sit-down lunches tend to run overtime so perhaps save this one for evening functions.

The buffet

Buffets are great for a more casual event and allow attendees greater choice over their food selection. There is less of a need for wait-staff than with a sit-down meal, however in addition to tables to sit at the venue needs to be large enough to accommodate the buffet table with sufficient space around it. Cutlery, glassware and tableware will also need to be provided unless participants are to eat from plates on their laps or while standing, which isn’t ideal when considering the corporate event.

Buffet tables can get messy and may need replenishing frequently to avoid frustration. A downside to buffets is participants having to wait in line to serve themselves and is more suitable for events which don’t have a strict schedule. An alternative to buffets are food stations which provide a greater range of meal choices and may help prevent queues.

Canapes and finger food

Perfect for product launches and networking events, cocktail canapes and finger foods allow participants to move around a venue and mingle. This is a suitable dining style for casual or semi-formal events. The venue should allow good flow for wait-staff to walk among people to ensure everyone has the opportunity to taste the food and receive drinks.

In terms of corporate catering, canapes and finger food are good for events where attendee numbers may be uncertain or may fluctuate through the course of the event. Finger foods eliminate the need for cutlery but tall bar tables should be available to allow people to place their drinks while eating.

The grazing table

Grazing tables are also a great way to encourage people to mingle. The table needs to be of a good size to allow everybody to stand around it comfortably while chatting and is therefore probably better suited to smaller functions. The grazing table should have a theme for visual appeal and to suit the function.

As with buffets, consideration should also be given to the location of tableware, napkins etcetera to allow for better flow and to avoid attendees reaching over one another. Having tableware on a smaller side table is a good option if space allows. Also, consider having a separate table for drinks.

High Tea

High teas may not immediately spring to mind when you think about a corporate event catering but a high tea is perfect for celebrations such as business anniversaries or staff rewards. They may also be suitable for product launches and conferences. High teas allow for flexibility as food can be presented on group tables or a buffet-style table. Tableware can be as simple or as fancy as you like to suit the event. Depending on the occasion you can go all out with china cups and saucers and delicate cake forks or paper plates and plastic spoons.

Individual dining boxes

Individual lunch or dinner boxes are where meals are prepared ahead and packaged in a box or tray. They can be presented in a range of sizes and are great for catering to attendees with allergies or food preferences. These picnic-style dining boxes are good for casual events and don’t require table styling or décor. This is a good dining style option for team-building or training sessions where cooking facilities are not available.

Corporate event - lunch boxes

Need more help or information on choosing the best dining style for your corporate catering event? Get in touch with us today for advice and an obligation-free quote.