What will post-Covid event catering be like?
Event food and drink post-Covid will have to be very different when in-person events finally make a comeback.
For example, previously popular buffet-style dining will be difficult to deliver safely and in a way many delegates will feel comfortable with.
So the events industry will need to find new and safe ways of delivering an enjoyable eating and drinking experience – especially as, for most people, it’s such an important part of attending an event.
Here we take a look at some of the key aspects of post-Covid-19 food and drink delivery – and some of our ideas about how event catering could work in coming months.
One likely option will be attractively presented pre-packed meals or bento boxes that attendees ‘grab and go’ from multiple locations – and during a set time slot – to avoid queuing.
As little food as possible should be on display, so shelves would have to be restocked frequently.
We’d advise not cutting back on staff numbers, even with the pressure of reduced maximum headcounts in venues. In fact, extra help may be needed to ensure your event runs smoothly and adheres to guidelines.
Alternatively, if guests are seated, staff could place boxed meals at their seats to reduce numbers of people moving around the venue.
Cutlery and condiments should be individually wrapped to further reduce touchpoints.
The number of delegates in the catering area might be limited, and a one-way system could aid the flow of people.
Plenty of staff could be on-hand to help guests adhere to social distancing guidelines and encourage use of hand sanitiser.
A worthwhile side benefit of pre-portioned meals is that they could cut food waste significantly, especially compared to the traditional pre-Covid buffet.
Of course there’s also the downside of all the extra packaging, so it’s vital to keep this to a minimum – and for event organisers to choose the most environmentally-friendly packaging possible, for example compostable coffee cups.
Each guest could have their own personal selection of pre-packaged or plated canapés.
They could collect their food packages as before, or staff could deliver them to seated guests.
Grab and go drinks
Drinks could be pre-poured to minimise contact and avoid queues at the drinks counter or bar.
How much – if any – alcohol you serve needs serious consideration. Even those who usually follow the rules might forget to socially distance after a few drinks.
Dinners with guests sitting at tables of 10 or more could switch to a cabaret set up, with socially distanced tables for two people.
Staff could serve covered dishes of food to guests at the tables.
If you have an event app that attendees have used to check in, for example, attendees could also use this to place contactless food and drink orders.
Another option could be to hold smaller, more intimate events in suitable restaurants which already meet the required safety standards.
Make it tasty, healthy and sustainable
The number of people able to attend and eat at events will, of course, be reduced and costs will undoubtedly be higher – so you’ll need to take a close look at your budget and profit margins.
However, smaller numbers of people allows event planners to experiment and get used to new ways of delivering event food, ready for when larger numbers return.
The pandemic has caused many people to reassess their attitudes towards their health, the food they eat and the environment, so it’s also an opportunity to deliver healthy, sustainable, seasonal and locally sourced food.
If you have any questions, need further advice or would like some help planning your business events, please contact the Kina Events team on 020 7205 7901 or send us an email.
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