Do you really want to impress attendees with the latest and greatest in catering and food? Here are seven ideas guaranteed to wow your group, not matter kind of event you have in mind.

1. Learning Lunch

There are two types of learning lunches, a work version and a fun version. For the work version, attendees eat meals while listening to a presentation or discussing a topic/brainstorming. It’s a nice way to save time, and it can actually increase conversation and focus in some cases (plus many attendees will be grateful for something to do while they are eating). However, if you have the time and want a more fun, impressive option, consider a learning lunch where the provider teaches about the food itself. This is a popular option for highly ethnic cuisine where pamphlets or speakers talk about the history, ingredients, and preparation of each course. Food shows are popular for a reason, and this educational option is always a big hit!

2. Healthy Energy Burst

Want to increase energy and save time for your attendees? Then focus on healthy foods and nutrition. This works great because inexpensive foods like grain bars, cucumbers, grilled veggies and fruit can all be used, and attendees will still “eat up” the health-oriented dishes or snacks. As you can guess, this works particularly well with younger audiences and fast-moving events with a lot to do.

3. Going Local and Seasonal

This is a great way to both connect with the community and find out more about the cuisine in the city where your event is taking place. Contract with a local restaurant or caterer that specializes in local, seasonal ingredients and organic food crafting. This tends to create delicious meals that also inform attendees about the nearby climate, farms, and popular food experiments in the area. Plus, it looks great as an advertisement for a green event!

4. Pop-Up Restaurants

A pop-up restaurant event is essentially a trial run for an up-and-coming restaurant that wants to test out its menu on a receptive audience. This tends to be fun for both the attendees and the ambitious chef, so take a look around and see if you can find entrepreneurs or new restaurants looking for a pop-up experience to refine their techniques. Ask venues to find out if they have had successful pop-ups in the past, and if there are any new businesses or food carts that might be interested in catering.

5. Craft Your Own Meal Workshops

Here the attendees experience a basic cooking class that shows they how to assemble a unique and tasty meal (they probably don’t need much direction on how to eat it afterward). This is a great option for colleges and other venues with kitchens and workshop rooms freely available. The only trick is making sure that attendees don’t have too much to do – because another class may feel like a drag if they are already tired.

6. Handheld Foods with Classy Ingredients

Handheld foods are trending right now because they work well for active, high-energy events where everyone has something to do or somewhere to go, and no patience for sitting down. These carry-as-you-eat foods can easily impress with quality ingredients. We’re seeing plenty of sushi wraps, lobster tacos, steak sliders, and more delicious options that no one will pass up.

7. Artisan Drink Options

What is an artisan drink? Think of something unique and customizable by each attendee. This includes kombucha, matcha tea, juicers with available ingredients, and a variety of fruit juice mocktails. Such drinks are ideal for shorter meetings or morning meets when food may not be necessary or popular.

Still curious about food and catering options? Stop by McVeigh Global Meetings and Events to find out the logistics behind event food and how to make sure your event impresses at all levels.