Warmer weather. Fun in the sun. And a feeling that things are just a little bit more laid back than other times of the year. These are just a few reasons we enjoy Summer meeting season at AMA Executive Conference Centers! And just how Summer fashion changes, so too is our experience with food requests for summertime meetings. Today we’re sharing four culinary trends that have been prominent this Summer in our New York City, Washington DC, Atlanta and San Francisco Conference Centers:
GRAB N’ GO
Meeting planners are listening to attendees requests and adding meal times that offer flexibility but retain substance. For meeting breaks we find that planners are choosing quick, non-messy options that guests can grab as they’re coming in or as needed throughout the day. For lunches, buffets with boxed lunches have gained in popularity. Attendees enjoy having the variety offered (sandwiches and half sandwich/half salad combinations) and the flexibility of taking the box and having an impromptu meeting away from the center’s meeting room area is attractive to many. The affordability of selecting a ‘grab and go’ type of catering setup can also be attractive when planning.
LESS IS MORE
With warmer months comes a healthier conscious and a desire to eat just a little lighter. We find that with more heat people tend to enjoy a lighter breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks. Planners are taking notice and are requesting items in ‘mini’ versions. Bagel bites, mini muffins and fewer full sized sweet pastries this summer have been a reflection of less. With that said, plain Greek yogurt with bananas, granola and raisins have also been a hit. Seasonal fruit (melons, strawberries, grapes and kiwi ) have also been requested often; and when a bowl of whipped cream is added for a topping, a fruit trifle makes for a lovely dessert!
This Summer we found that special dietary requests are becoming more and more frequent – especially with larger meeting groups. Leading this trend is the request for Gluten-Free. Dietary requests is something that each of our Centers’ can almost always accommodate when made aware of the need. Most recently we had a meeting guest who was grateful our Center’s team was able to provide her with a gluten-free dessert. She shared with us that this had never been provided at any other meeting she’d attended. Being mindful and having the ability to provide gluten-free afternoon snacks in addition to gluten-free breakfast and lunch selections is important to us.
After a long week of meetings it’s nice to celebrate it by coming together over food! This Summer we’ve most certainly seen an up-swing in meeting planners requesting this type of catering activity. One Center had a group that requested chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne to close out their five days of meetings. Dessert and a little bubbly…we can’t think of any better way to end a successful week of productive meetings!