Dressed to Impress - Experiential Event Food

In a world of instant publicity through social media, a caterer needs to be prepared to have his or her events broadcast in living color, in real time. Event attendees like to post their experiential highlights through Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. For a savvy caterer, this is the fundamental marketing opportunity. The social media generation becomes part of the event rather than mere observers or bystanders, through selfies and video clips that are then sent far and wide. They crave an engaged experience and that’s where experiential hospitality and catering comes in.

As an event planner, hosting an in-person event gives you access to almost unlimited catering options. There are food and corporate catering menu ideas to suit any budget, theme, or event type. Here are six of our chosen favorites to help you create a great event experience for your event attendees.

Food Stations

Food stations are a colorful and fun way that also provide dietary flexibility for your guest. Take a pasta station, for instance. Where once it was a chance for guests to perhaps try your best sauces in a serve-yourself format, now, it’s an opportunity for diners to watch as chefs take pasta in its initial form (as a semolina mix), run it through a pasta machine, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water, and then toss it in a cheese bowl or with a simmering sauce before serving to the patiently waiting guests.

Wood Grilled Pizza Stations

Another possibility – and the options are limitless – is a pizza station, in which guests can choose their own toppings before watching them transform in a hot wood-burning oven. Offer a selection of toppings such as cheese, of course, and corn, olives, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, prosciutto and more. In fact, the process can start with the chef throwing the risen dough into the air and rolling it out, giving guests the ultimate pizza experience.

Burger Stations

Attendees will become engaged by creating their own sliders, for example, and choosing from any number of fillings: from pulled beef, lamb, chicken, mushroom or grilled vegetable sliders, and adding a range of toppings and sauces.

Food Trucks

For a more casual experiential event, you can’t go wrong with hosting a variety of food trucks, each specializing in a different type of street food. Most cities have access to a wide range of food truck options. Treat your event attendees to tasty Mexican food like burritos and tacos, city-style pizzas, crispy fried chicken, or plant-based Mediterranean dishes. For larger events, consider partnering with one or more local food trucks to create a branded experience — complete with your own personalized menu.

Personalized Menus from Local Restaurant

Another great way to impress your guests is to support local restaurants and provide your guests with a “taste of the event destination” by creating a personalized dining experience that incorporates all of them. Have each restaurant prepare a different course or serving of the meal as a thoughtful way to support your local community and allow your guests to experience a variety of restaurants in your event destination.

Do-It-Yourself Dessert Bar

There’s nothing better than dessert. A DIY dessert bar is a fun way to add some sweet treats to your event — whether it’s a team retreat day or a promotional event for your new product. Make sure you choose a dessert your attendees can customize — think cupcakes, waffles, ice cream, donuts, parfait sundaes and more. Serve up plenty of toppings, including fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, wafers, candy, and sprinkles. This will add some personality to your internal or external events.

Whatever you choose, your event attendees are sure to leave impressed, raving about the event long after it’s over with any of these experiential event food options. Need an event venue or catering company? Search our meetingpages Event Venue Guide and Event Caterers Guide today!

Casey Romano, Publisher | meetingpages | casey@meetingpages.com

Creator of digital platform meetingpages complete event planning directory and resource delivering leads and national, regional and local exposure for event venues, suppliers and destinations in MN, WI, IA & CO markets. In her free time, this 19 year industry veteran enjoys dance, group fitness, and training her young golden retriever dog in competition obedience and confirmation.

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