PROBLEM Running out
of food during a social
or networking event is
about the worst thing
that can happen to a meeting plan-
ner — meaning that almost any
program involving food prepares
way too much of it, and the potential
for waste is high.
S OLU TIO N Meeting planners can have a positive,
lasting impact on this issue. Here are some strate-
gies to get you started:
› Scope out menus that are suitable. More unusual items such
as venison aren’t consumed by many people, so stay with main-
stream items. If you can, survey delegates in advance to see what
› Reduce the number of courses. The more courses you have,
the greater the waste — so consider going from, say, a four- to a
three-course dinner. That saves money, too!
› Avoid buffets when you can. They’re terribly wasteful,
because people take more food than they’ll eat, and you end up
displaying more food so your buffet stations never look empty. If
you are using a buffet, place vegetables and carbohydrates first
and meat and fish last, and use smaller bowls to display food.
› Get comfortable with running out of food. Empty buffet sta-
tions at the end of an event are a sign of success; full stations are
a sign of things gone wrong.
› Take notes. Keep a history of how your F&B runs, so you know
the flow and can better advise your culinary team the next time.
Get actuals from your events, and adjust your food guarantees
› Donate your leftovers. Ask your venue in advance about
working with a food-donation program — ideally one that goes
beyond just the baked goods. There are numerous providers
available across United States and Canada. Encourage your venues to start using them. .
Sandra Wood, CMP, is manager of the annual meeting for the Canadian
Appetite for Sustainability + Higher Ground at Sydney Festival
A focal point at this year’s
Sydney Festival — an annual
celebration of art and culture
that encompasses 100 events
in more than 30 venues in the
Australian city — was Higher
Ground, an M.C. Escher–
inspired “architectural sanctuary” designed by the Irish-born, U. S.-based artist known
as Maser. Built over a skeleton
of six shipping containers by
Staging Rentals & Construction Services and installed in
Sydney’s Hyde Park, Higher
Ground stood 20 feet tall and
was swathed in hypnotically
bright colors and stripes.
Attendees were free to
explore the structure however
they wanted during the
course of the festival, which
ran from Jan. 8–26. “The artist’s ultimate goal was to create a unique space for social
interaction,” according to a
Staging Rental press release.
It was an intriguing assignment for Staging Rentals.
“The team really enjoyed the
challenge of building the
different-shaped spaces, and
the colors made for an interesting project,” said Managing Director David Comer. “It
has been a highlight for Sydney Festival, which continues
to raise the bar each year on
the experiences it provides
for its audiences.”
For more information:
Feed the World
By Sandra Wood, CMP