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How can food create an impact within the event experience? Maximise the potential of your next event by placing focus on one of the most important elements - what goes on the plate! Guest blog written by Andy Wardle, Director of Culinary, Arena, Levy Restaurants UK. 

At Lime Venue Portfolio we’ve been talking a lot about creating experiences through our venues and food. We’ve seen many great experiences come to life in our venues and none more so than when major brands use events to make a statement about their products and culture.

So how can food really fit into this? Can a plate of food really be branded, and what does this do to the experience?

First of all, my advice is to always remember the delegate. Food accounts for 42% of all event feedback, so mess around with their meal at your peril. Regardless of the experience you are creating, when you serve up lunch, the guest needs a great meal first, and a brand statement second!

For me it’s about delivery and presentation. Yes, we can incorporate the logo within the food on the plate, we can certainly design the meal to be less fussy or intricate, as long as it’s tasty and gives them a great dining experience. But really it’s about the surroundings and how the food is served. This is where the real fun begins.

We’re fortunate at LVP that these settings are ready made for us through our venues. Anyone that walks into the National Railway Museum, Troxy or Edinburgh Zoo for an event will already be aware of the experience that is being created; the food then can take the next step.

We’ve done launches for major automotive companies where we used parts of the car to serve canapés on, we’ve put product examples on the table and used them as display shelving for sweets and coffee, we’ve even dressed the waiting staff in clothing and shoe products. We’ve also looked at changing the format of the meal; for an agricultural brand we served food in bowls while delegates perched on hay bales.

Sometimes the food element can be over thought and then spoilt; we enjoy thinking creatively across the whole event; staff appearance and service delivery are key to a relevant brand experience and open up more opportunities to do it justice.

This for me is the very essence of brand food, and it allows for real creativity and innovation. Chefs love doing this, we care deeply about the food, but also about how it arrives on the table (or hay bale), we like the theatre of it and we love it when food becomes part of a total experience.

So think about food, but think about delivery as well. There is creative opportunity in both.

 

Bio: Andy Wardle joined Levy Restaurants UK in March as Director of Culinary, arena. The sector is made up of some of the UK’s most famous performing and conference venues including The O2, ExCeL London and Scotland’s iconic The SSE Hydro. Overseeing new food and beverage offers and working very closely with the other three Directors of Culinary, Andy and his colleagues drive the mentoring and development programmes for Levy Restaurants UK’s chefs at all levels.

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