November 14, 2011
Does this sound familiar? “The event was educational, I learned a lot; the reception was okay, but nothing to write home about.”
In an event schedule, networking receptions are a significant component. Guests use them to build relationships with peers and clients. They look forward to this “meet and mingle” time.
But receptions generally occur at the end of the day, when guests are hungry and can take a big bite out of your budget.
Here are some tips to create an outstanding reception that will WOW your guests, provide a memorable experience, and still be gentle on your budget.
• Toss the plates, and use napkins; add elegance with butler-style service (white-gloved servers handing out food from silver trays). Your guests will likely take one piece while juggling a drink, and be impressed.
• Order high quality and less variety; the larger the assortment, the more to sample, adding to consumption.
• Cubed cheese and crackers can ease hunger pains; serve them first, before hors d’oeuvres.
• Avoid cheese and vegetable crudites on tables; expensive leftover cheese adds to your cost.
• Pass one kind of hors d’oeuvres on a tray. Guests will take one or two and wait for a tray with something different.
• Avoid foods, such as stuffed potato shells, that take a lot of time to prepare, and foods that are hand-rolled.
• Add a small buffet station manned by service staff that control the portion size.
• Serve wine; use the ticket system and a cash bar. If it is an open bar, instruct your staff to keep bottles sealed until requested.
• Play music; this encourages conversation and diverts your guests’ attention.
• Keep your reception short; each guest will consume an average of six to eight hors d’oeuvres in an hour.
The last event of the day is the experience your guests will remember the most. Handle it with style and they will be impressed, hold your organization in high regard and attend again.