Don’t serve the dreaded banquet chicken!

Don’t serve the dreaded banquet chicken!

by Terri Yanke

What food is being served and how it is both presented and prepared can set the whole mood for your event.  Food and Beverage is usually one of the more expensive items on the event budget.  So while there is the general thought by many to serve the most inexpensive food possible to keep the costs of food down, you run the risk of setting a bad tone and experience for the whole event. 

I have a few pet peeves regarding food and beverage for events – not having one hand bite appetizers for a mixer is one of them and another is being served the dreaded banquet chicken.

Most likely you have been in this situation.  There is an upcoming special event that you want to look forward to but you know you are going to get served the dreaded banquet chicken – dry, not much taste, tough… and just knowing this puts a damper on the whole event.  You are no longer looking forward to going and once there and served this chicken you are thinking about wishing it was something else that was served.  You can’t even fully enjoy the purpose of the special event since the meal you were served was just not good.  The talk around the table is about wishing the food was better and not about the purpose of the event.  You are wondering why you had to go to this event and you don’t want to attend another.

What if instead you knew that this special event would serve something delicious?  You would be looking forward to it.  The occasion would overall be better.  You could more fully engage in the purpose of the event and the food would enhance it even further.  The table would be filled with positive conversation.  The event would be a great memorable experience.  You would think highly of the host of the event.  You would look forward to another event in the future.

Unfortunately the dreaded chicken turns up over and over at events.   What this tells me is any combination or all of the following: 

*the focus of the event was on keeping costs extremely low.  I have seen this even happen in situations where people pay a large amount to attend an event which really makes attendees unhappy that they didn’t get served better food for the price. 

*the venue or caterer is not doing their job in offering other alternatives that could be better and just as cost efficient.  You can even use the same chicken in more creative ways – build your own salad, fajita, pasta…

*there is not a professional event planner working with the venue or caterer to ensure that the food is delicious.  If you ask for and accept the lowest and easiest cost option from a venue/caterer and don’t ask to taste it ahead of time can lead you down the path to the dreaded banquet chicken.  A professional event planner will work with a venue/caterer on your behalf and negotiate with them to offer something better for the budget and also make sure and have the food tasted ahead of time so that there are no surprises.  They will make sure that there are better food options and more creative food ideas and the result will be delicious food and happy attendees.   

I have personally decided to not go to an upcoming paid event.  I enjoy the purpose and the people at this event but the reason for not attending is that the price to attend is high especially considering that the past two events had the same horrible banquet chicken and I don’t want to have it again!  Another pet peeve of mine – don’t serve the same food more than once if you have ongoing events with the same attendees!  Change up the menu.  Keep things interesting. 

In closing – just say no – don’t accept the dreaded banquet chicken when planning your event.  Make yourself look good, save yourself time and get professional event help.  It is well worth it.  There are other choices and ways to prepare and serve chicken differently or even serve something else.  You want your event to be a great memorable experience and serving dry banquet chicken is definitely not the way to go.    

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