Catering For All Your Delegates Dietary Needs

A few years ago event planners just had to worry about requests for halal, kosher or vegetarian meals, but a trend is growing around the world when it comes to meal preferences. These days, they are getting requests for everything from egg-free and gluten-free meals, to Paleo- and banting-friendly meals.

BE PREPARED
When it comes to dietary requirements, you as an event planner must never be caught off-guard. To ensure this, collect as much information as you can upon event registration.

Talk to your event caterers, find out which specific options they offer and only include those options on your registration form. A variety of options ensures that most attendees are accommodated. Be sure to also state that while you aim to meet the special dietary requirements of all attendees, you cannot always guarantee to do so. This is simply a very effective and respectable way to avoid getting requests that your caterers cannot tend to.

MEAL OPTIONS
When discussing meal options with your caterers, be sure you know how food will be served—buffet, served, food stations, plated as well as what you will be doing during your tea and coffee breaks.

When deciding on the type of meal service for your event, you need to take into consideration who will be attending and the setting as well as the objectives of the event. Catering plays a major role in your event and if you do not play special attention to food presentation you may end up with unhappy guests.

Click here for a list of things you need to consider when selecting your menu – PDF

HEALTH ISSUES
Dietary preferences are often related to health issues and should not be taken lightly. As a result, you must be strict when it comes to pre-set meals. Include a paragraph on your registration form that states something along the lines of: “Dietary restrictions MUST be indicated here to receive a personalised meal ticket. For your safety, special requests will not be provided without a meal ticket.” This not only ensures that someone who specifically asked for a special meal gets their meal as requested but also prevents any unforeseen requests on the day which can’t be tended to.

Depending on the special request, your caterer might charge extra. Kosher and halal meals often have to be prepared off-site and this adds to the total preparation expense.

WHAT TO EXPECT
While not all caterers and venues will offer every dietary option available, you should be aware of the different options and diets out there. This allows you to be better prepared.

Click here for a list of various dietary requirements – PDF

It is always hard to please everyone, but the more you know the easier it gets to plan ahead. Don’t break your budget to accommodate every single person, but try your best to keep them satisfied. Be hands-on and communicate with your caterers, they can be a great help.

The Tsogo Sun chefs can provide a range of menus that accommodate various dietary requirements. All of the properties are well-equipped to cater for any type of event – from 1 000 delegate dinners to intimate corporate lunches to cocktail parties and even weddings.