Attention Event Planners

June 14, 2007 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

How is it possible, in this day and age, for event planners to forget to make accommodations for individuals with restrictive dietary needs or preferences? I attended a workshop yesterday and the planners provided lunch. Great! But lunch consisted of:

  • Hamburgers
  • Brats
  • Potato salad
  • Cole slaw
  • Chips
  • Cookies

That’s a very reasonable lunch for most people. Problem was, there were zero options for folks who don’t eat beef and pork. That may not be a problem at a luncheon for, say, the Nebraska Cattleman’s Association, but this was a pretty mixed group that was likely to have a higher-than-normal population of vegetarians.

I don’t think it’s (usually) a planner’s responsibility to prepare for every possible style of picky eater, and I do think the picky among us bear a certain amount of responsibility for either asking the planner ahead of time for an alternate meal or bringing their own meal. Still, it takes very little effort for an event planner to make minimal preparations for the picky (toss a few Boca burgers into the mix, for example). Or if that isn’t possible, advertise the style of meal ahead of time (“Lunch entrees will feature beef”) so that the picky know to prepare themselves.

The Missus’ former employer used the latter tactic and it worked fine. The Missus was one of only one or two individuals who did not eat beef or pork. Since pretty much every meal featured beef and pork (usually donated by a local meat company), The Missus knew to be prepared with an alternative. No problem.

So folks out there planning events: don’t forget to account for picky eaters. The number and style of accommodations you make (if any) will of course depend on your audience and the type of event. But spend at least 2 minutes thinking about the issue.

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The Comments

Karin June 14, 2007 at 2:48pm

We you at the think tank thing for UNL? (if not, it’s a mighty big coincidence) I thought the SAME EXACT THING about the menu.

Karin June 14, 2007 at 2:49pm

oops, “were” not “we”

Also- what sessions did you attend?

Mr. Wilson June 14, 2007 at 3:04pm

Yup, that’s the event, Karin. I’ll see if I can remember my sessions in the right order:

1. Making events multi-sensory
2. Toolbox update
3. Proofreading
4. Crisis communications

I didn’t even think about you being there. Did you win anything in the raffle?

Karin June 14, 2007 at 3:14pm

I didn’t stay that long (had to get back for a meeting). Those chairs were really getting to me in the end, though- I have a newfound respect for high school students. I went to the toolbox training (I had not been through yet) the Photoshop one, and the InDesign one. Was the proofreading one useful?

I really liked the keynote… maybe a tad long, but I liked how he kept his message upbeat and didn’t bash anyone. That’s his job and all, but it was still nice to hear.

Mr. Wilson June 14, 2007 at 3:35pm

What, you don’t like band chairs? Sit up straight, young lady! grin The proofreading session was OK. There wasn’t any great specific information, but it served as a good general reminder to always be aware of how you might goof up a document.

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