Conferences and business events are getting more complex and demanding, as a result of changes in eating habits and the way that meetings and learning events are structured, we are finding that networking lunches are beginning to take over the more traditional options of sit-down lunches. Clients tell us that this format facilitates a more relaxed atmosphere, interaction between our team and clients, and encourages serendipity through informal discussions in the right environment, at the right time.
The Møller Centre recently served a staff lunch in this networking style. The idea was for the staff to experience the food and format and provide informal feedback, whilst the chefs, Food and Beverage team leaders and senior staff observed their colleagues’ eating habits and what could be improved on. The lunch was also intended to help our team understand the clients’ experience, meaning they can provide the best possible service.
Assessing the scene were Sous chef Chris, F&B assistant Lewis, Operations manager Alex and General manager Stuart Websdale and their discussion focused on practical matters such as portion sizes, bowls per person and how to get the food out quickly and effectively. Finer details on fruit serving proved a challenge – should it be chopped or sliced? Grapes on plates was an issue, or rather grapes falling from plates to the floor!
It appeared the benefits of networking lunches are multiple end even environmental because, by understanding portion sizes, there is less food waste than a buffet and therefore less goes into the bin and carbon emissions are reduced.
Walking, talking and eating may well be a welcome break for clients that have spent all morning sitting down in meetings or conferences. It encourages open and active dialogue between clients, which introduces the possibility of serendipity and innovative discussions. Managers often want their staff to be engaged and refreshed as a result of a lunch break and networking lunches particularly promote this.
The Centre’s staff are renowned for being passionate, proactive and knowledgeable about food and drink. In turn, networking provides a fabulous opportunity for staff to pass on their knowledge about the food provided to the clients. It stimulates interaction between staff and clients to improve the client journey, whilst also facilitating a perfect environment for staff to receive feedback regarding the service or food. This will help the Centre continually improve on the basis of client response.