The ever growing awareness of dietary restrictions is an important and relevant topic to consider when planning your next event. As you begin to consider the details of your next event and its menu plans it is crucial to align with a company that is not only able to handle the unique needs of your guests, but also has a culture that embraces dietary needs as the norm rather than a burden.
When planning your menu keep these key points in mind to ensure you are treating each and every guest with the utmost care and hospitality:
- You CAN please everyone.... yes, it is possible to ensure each and every guest has something that is not only satisfying but is delivered with exceptional quality and attention. Will everyone absolutely love every single element of your event or your menu...likely not, tastes differ and preferences change...but it is possible to please everyone through intentional focus and care. Surround yourself with a pro team that gets this and strives for it in every aspect of their service.
- Dietary Restrictions are not a burden... offering a notation area on your rsvp's for guests to indicate any dietary restriction is a simple way of showing you care about your guests enough to recognize they may have needs that will impact their experience at your event. We occasionally hear "if you don't like it too bad" and while I can understand that from the client standpoint it seems ominous to prepare for several hundred guests and try to accommodate everyone; however; on the guests end their dietary needs are just that...needs. Are some purely lifestyle choices...yes...however there simply is no way to know the difference and respect should be shown to both. Once you the client have taken the thoughtful step to add a restriction notation line it is now your caterers responsibility to manage the tracking and execution.
- Hire Vendors Who Care... this seems obvious right? Unfortunately the catering world is not full of vendors who have shifted their internal culture to one that embracing this change in the way we dine. Most have one or all of the following: annoyance with having to create a complete dish to accommodate restrictions, extra fees to you the client for handling restrictions or modifications, and/or flat out wont work them at all. How sad! We are in the service industry and yet some vendors simply don't take this aspect of service seriously. As you are meeting with vendors in the early stages of planning, make sure to inquire about how they handle guests dietary needs both pre-noted and asked for during your event. Are they able to work with a last minute request? Will they serve vegan/vegetarian guests a plate of vegetables from other entree options or will they craft full portions of dishes for these guests? These questions can be eye opening. No one wants to be an afterthought or embarrassed while they are dining at your event.
- It could be you... you never know when you, a family member, or your child could have a dietary need arise and if that happens your stance on this matter will likely alter. When you are planning your next event, think of each detail from a guests perspective, especially your menu. Most of the guests who indicate a restriction are doing so out of a need not a choice, and in that spirit each should be treated with respect and care just as you would want for yourself, your family, or your child.
These quick tips will help deliver a thoughtful and exceptional experience for the guests at your event. And vendors...listen up....you have a responsibility here to deliver....it is after-all what we are in business to do!