You have a marathon meeting coming up, or the boss is coming in from out of town, or there is an important client coming in to talk about their account. These and a thousand other corporate events are all great opportunities to stand out and make a good impression. One way to do just that is to ensure that tasty treats are provided to your meeting attendees through the use of a corporate caterer. Whether your meeting or event is at your office or offsite, having the event catered can make it more pleasant, more productive, and potentially more beneficial for your business and career.
First, let’s talk about impressions. If you have a corporate retreat or team building event, or the head of your department is flying in from the home office for a meeting with you, your boss, and a few other people, having something brought in that is a step above the break room coffee and stale donuts you usually have for staff meetings will signal to her that you recognize the importance of this meeting and her position within the company. It also sends a message that you recognize the importance of details. The same is true if you are having a meeting with an important client or potential client.
Regardless of your business, small touches like this are a hallmark of good service, and are one way to signal to your clients that they are important to you, and to help you and your company stand out in their mind.
When you are having a meeting with attendees from other parts of the country or parts of the world, catering is a great way to acknowledge cultural differences and make your guests feel at home. The time-honored tradition of breaking bread also helps dispel awkwardness and makes every gathering that much more pleasant. Consider a continental breakfast for a morning meeting, with muffins, juice, coffee, tea, and other gourmet pastries. Offer coffee, tea, and an assortment of not-so-sweet cakes or pastries for an afternoon meeting, particularly if you have European attendees at your meeting, as many countries, Germany in particular, often have a “coffee and cake” break in the mid-afternoon. If you are having guests from Great Britain or Ireland, consider adding a few light sandwiches to the afternoon catered spread, in a nod to the tea time tradition. It goes without saying that meetings that are held at or that will last through meal times should include a full catered meal. Go for a boxed lunch if you want to work through the meal, or take a lunch or dinner break and offer a buffet style hot meal. Remember to include options for the vegetarians in your group, and at least one option that covers any other dietary requirements (Kosher, Halal, etc.).
Not only is a catered corporate meeting or event more pleasant than the alternative, it can put you as the one who suggests it on the boss’s radar in a good way. Catered meetings are also more productive meetings. Hungry employees are distracted employees. If everyone is slipping out for a lunch break here, a coffee break there, or a snack machine run who knows when, then no one is on the same page. If, on the other hand, food is easily accessible and taken care of by a third party, you and your team can focus on the work at hand and get more done.