A View from Emily Stafford
Event catering has come a long way from curling sandwiches and instant coffee of days gone by. With events becoming increasingly multi-dimensional, food and drink has become a key component in enhancing the audience experience. It’s an opportunity to offer something fun and interactive – creating conversations and sparking conversations between people. Catering is in fact now one of the essential foundations in the considerations and build of an event – becoming something memorable, sharable and entertaining. Here are six ways that illustrate how you can re-imagine your event catering to construct those all-important moments of audience interaction:
Bompas & Parr create stimulating and entertaining experiences that guarantee to get people talking. They showcase bright eye-catching foods, such as their famed and flawlessly detailed moulded jellies, understanding that in order to ‘wow’ delegates, food and drink need to leave the individual with a strong and rousing memory. Bompas & Parr’s catering is something uniquely novel, that captivates and challenges each of the senses. The food architects generated some serious interaction when they developed the world’s first ‘Gin Cloud’, allowing event attendees to walk together within 40 litres of alcoholic mist!
Lick Me I’m Delicious experimental food installations are the epitome of attention-grabbing. Their edible mist orbs, nitrogen ice cream, flavoured bubbles and tipsy fountains, are not only great talking points but are also incredibly sharable during and post event. The machines and contraptions are exciting to use, wonderfully far-fetched and always stimulate discussion regarding how they really work.
Innovative activations such as Thirsty Thoughts have allowed delegates to use pioneering tech to partake in extraordinary activities such as ‘pouring a pint using their minds’ or using gesture control to enjoy a glass of champagne. There is a competitive and entertaining element to the engagement, with delegates ‘brain power’ shown on an iPad screen. Thirsty Thoughts has allowed for drinks catering to become a spectacle, one that attracts a crowd and easily adds an engaging and interactive element to an evening event.
4. Robot Barmen
Again, like with Thirsty Thoughts, the use of original technology in event catering can really help to spark conversations. Robot barmen for example, provide a real wow factor, with two robotic arms creating cocktails before delegates very eyes. This fun advancement catering technology has allowed for an increased level of activity during events where there could otherwise be no conversational sparking points!
Due to an amplified environmental consciousness at events, catering has also adopted a component of awareness, especially in relation to food and drink packaging. Ooho is a driving force of innovation, creating sustainable packaging for liquids out of seaweed and plants. They spark great conversations in regard to the environmental challenges of today’s event world, whist also being a fun, quick and amusing way of enjoying water or even a cocktail!
Finally, the brand Paper Water Bottles have also shown an understanding of the importance of a need for sustainability. Instead of single use plastic, bottles are created from pulp and are 65% compostable. The brand believes that people of all ‘generations, backgrounds and locations globally’ recognise the significance of their cause – which in turn generates discussion during events that they appear at. So, catering will continue to play a pivotal role in ensuring a successful event. And similarly to consumer events, a B2B audience now wants and expects the latest innovations in food. This takes skill, planning and attention to ensure you wow your audience but most importantly, its vital not to get too carried away and make sure you actually feed people too!