As an Assistant, it’s your responsibility to arrange meetings that run without a hitch, and a key cog in the meeting machine is catering.

From that all-important espresso at crack-of-dawn breakfast meetings, through to bite-sized canapés at cocktail functions, the refreshments you include can make or break a meeting. A basic package isn’t always the way to go, either, so be sure to consider and arrange catering that’s interesting and fit for purpose. After all, a room of hungry, thirsty people won’t think clearly. And bland or unhealthy food is unlikely to inspire or properly fuel attendees.

Catering for super-productive meetings

So, with all this in mind, how do you cater to ensure a super-productive meeting?

Plan enough provisions

It can be tricky to work out exactly how much people will want to eat or drink in a meeting, but when calculating quantities, it’s good to aim higher, rather than lower.

The last thing you want is for the food or drink to run out before everyone has consumed their share. Not only could this leave people hungry, thirsty or frustrated, but it’s not an effective use of the meeting host’s precious time to have them order more supplies from the venue.

If you’re working with an experienced venue, they should be able to help you work out exactly how much you need to order, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Cater for all diets

Be sure to check all dietary requirements with your meeting attendees before confirming your final refreshments, as it’s highly likely there will be people in the group with allergies or intolerances, as well as vegetarians or vegans.

You definitely don’t want to leave anyone hungry (or worse, feeling overlooked) because you didn’t check their needs. So take the time to get a full picture of all dietary requirements and preferences well in advance to plan refreshments attendees will love – and be able to eat!

Think of food as fuel

If you’re catering for a long meeting – especially one that lasts all day – then you need to consider the type of food to offer your attendees. You’ll want to keep everyone’s energy and attention levels high, so sending them into a carb or sugar coma mid-afternoon is definitely best avoided!

Some basics to consider: whole grains digest more slowly than refined grains, so switch white bread, rice and pasta for whole wheat or grain where you can. Eggs also contain a high concentration of energy-providing protein.

Fruit and vegetables are packed with nutrients and fibre, giving long-lasting energy. Blueberries are a particularly great choice for a healthy, lasting energy boost. Plus, they can be served with almost any meal and are a handy snack too.

When thinking about proteins, consider Omega 3-rich fish like salmon. Walnuts are also great brain food, and lean meats like chicken and pork will help people feel full for longer.

For a sweet treat, consider dark chocolate – it’s packed with antioxidants, caffeine and flavonoids, which improve blood flow and brain health, and it tastes delicious to boot!

Need to plan a productive meeting that caters to everyone’s tastes? Find out how Marriott ensures that all Meetings are Made Delicious.

Catering for super-productive meetings