During the workday, you probably nibble on something at your work station or in the office pantry to perk up. It’s easier to be productive when you’ve eaten, even if it’s only a few crackers and some cheese. Nobody likes working on an empty stomach. That’s one of the reasons you serve food during a meeting.
But byou should be selective of what food and drink you serve during a meeting. How? Consider two things: the formality of the meeting and the purpose of the meeting.
Think about these two things when planning your menu, and you can avoid giving your attendees a sugar crash, or burping when you’re negotiating your office lease.
What is the Formality of the Meeting?
You need to factor in the formality and the purpose of the meeting. For casual meetings with employees, you can be freer with the menu. Although pizzas and burgers are welcome to some people, consider ordering healthier alternatives, like whole-grain sandwich wraps with vegetable stuffing or switching from fried potato crisps to baked potato chips. For practical reasons, avoid a sit-down meal, and instead pick food that everyone can eat while standing.
A formal appointment with a new client will require a different menu from a casual brunch update from your work teams. For formal meetings, avoid food that can potentially make a mess, like heavy soups and anything that has lots of sauces. Besides, during a formal meeting, you want your guests focused on the agenda, not worrying about their suits or what’s on their plates. Serve smaller servings of heavy food, but keep the side table full of easy to eat finger foods.
Your main course could be chicken served with a light salad in olive oil dressing, and fresh fruit salad for dessert. For snacks, consider almonds, vegetable sticks, and perhaps, a platter of cold cuts in manageable portions.
What is the Purpose of the Meeting?
What’s on the meeting agenda can affect the length of the meeting. These two things, in turn, should affect your meal plan. If the meeting is going to be an hours-long affair, like a brainstorming session, you need to steer clear of a few food items.
Even if the brainstorming session starts in the morning, avoid serving donuts, muffins, or any pastries. Their heavy ingredients can make your employees feel fatigued later in the day, which won’t help their productivity at all. The same goes for gluten-heavy food, like bread and pasta. A make-your-own salad or taco bar with healthy options can sate their appetites and keep their energy up. Delicious condiments, like balsamic vinegar and honey-mustard, can give these meals added zest.
Don’t include beverages that have high sugar content, like sodas. Although sugar can give an energy boost, the resulting sugar crash will slow down your employees later in the day. Instead of soda, make fresh fruit juices or iced tea available. Water, both room temperature and iced, should also be freely available during the meeting. If you think that plain water is a little dull, you can serve it infused with mint or with slices of lemon for added flavor.
The menu of your meeting shouldn’t just be delicious; it should also help your business goals. Plan your food with care and precision, and you might end a meeting with a full stomach and better ideas for your business.