Corporate dinners require a different approach compared to other types of social dining events. Often, a corporate dinner is held to celebrate an achievement or to provide a place for guests to mingle after a major meeting or training seminar. For this reason, everything from the menu to the table settings must be planned to fit the mission of the corporation. As you prepare to organize a corporate dinner, use these tips to make sure that everything is in place to support the company’s goals.
Start Planning Early
With a corporate event, it is best to begin planning as soon as possible. This helps to give you an extra cushion for times when you have to wait for someone’s approval on aspects of the event. You may also have to wait for items such as napkins to be printed with the company logo so it’s ideal to have time to work with your vendor’s schedules.
Align the Plans With the Theme
The dinner decorations, menu, and layout all set the atmosphere for the event. Find out if the corporate dinner should be formal or casual. You should also know what the main focus of the event is to help plan the menu. For instance, networking events call for bite-sized appetizers that guests can nibble on as they chat, while formal dinners will require more focus on foods that are served at the table.
Find Out the Complete Guest Count
An estimate of how many people are expected to attend the dinner helps you plan for seating and enough food to go around. Keep in mind that guest counts can change so it’s always best to make plans for slightly more people than you are expecting to show up.
Address Special Needs Early On
Once you have the guest count, find out if there are special considerations that should be included in the plans to ensure people’s comfort. While you should always plan for a vegan dish or gluten friendly options on your menu, you may also need to arrange for accessible seating and entrances for your guests with special needs.
Plan the Menu in Advance
The food is one of the main highlights at a corporate dinner, and the last thing you need is to discover that your food service team is out of a necessary ingredient or unprepared to handle the menu. Make menu planning a priority at the beginning of your planning sessions so that you have time to make corrections as needed.
Create the Seating Arrangements
The seating arrangements at your corporate dinner should follow certain rules of etiquette. For instance, the guest-of-honor should be seated to the right of the host, and you should have people sitting together that fall within similar levels of ranking. Speak with your main point-of-contact at the company to find out if there are special people that should be seated at the same table.
Plan a Warm Welcome
Your event team should be prepared to welcome each guest as they arrive at the dinner. Decide in advance what types of preparations are needed. For instance, you may want to set up a table with name-tags at the entrance to the dining venue. Alternatively, your ushers may need to be given advance notice of VIPs arriving so that they can show them to their table or presentation area.
Every corporate dinner is different, and you want to make sure that all of your plans reflect the company culture, mission, and overall theme of the event. While it takes some extra planning, making sure that this event goes well pays off in return business that makes organizing the corporate dinner easier in the future.