WASHINGTON D.C. – Have you ever taken an Instagram photo of your conference meal?
Probably not, but you might going forward, according to hospitality veteran Larry Mogelonsky of LMA Communications. I spoke with Mogelonsky about trends in the meetings and events industry last week during CVENT’s inaugural Global Business Forum, which was held at the Grand Hyatt. (I took my photo elsewhere; see below.)
As companies and groups spend more money on meetings and conferences, they’re making an investment in creative food, he said.
This comes at a time when you might say that many of us are more spoiled than ever, between the proliferation of casual-but-high-quality food trucks, celebrity chef restaurants across the price range and the growth of membership-required pop-up dinner clubs.
Now, don’t let your expectations get out of hand. You won’t find eyebrow raising food offered at every conference breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee break. What you probably will find is “one gala meal where (the organizer) spends a little more” than they would have in the past, Mogelonsky said.
“People are looking at who the chef is,” he said, noting recent noteworthy meals while attending conferences at Kempinski and Radisson hotels.
I wondered if food & beverage spending is rising due to greater alcohol consumption, but that’s not the case. In fact, he said, booze spending is down.
A few trends to watch for:
* Food with more interesting ingredients
* More nibbles and fewer sit-down meals
* Food that “pushes the limits of peoples’ imaginations”
“All of this is happening because people are looking for a creative outlet,” he said. “They (want meetings that) can generate creativity and stimulate thinking. People recognize that in order to move their businesses forward, they have to think outside of the box.”
Readers: Have you recently enjoyed a remarkable meal at a conference? Tell us about it. I’d also love to run your photo (Insta or not!); send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo caption: Delicious scallop appetizer from chef Corey Laub, chef at Lincoln restaurant in Washington D.C., during the Dinner Lab pop-up restaurant in Washington D.C. last week.