Calling all venues and foodies alike! If you’re visiting a venue, are you or are you not experiencing it with all of your senses? Sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. Above all, taste. Food is essential and good food is paramount at an event, whether that’s the launch of a venue or a venue showcase. If it doesn’t stay on your palette, will it stay in your mind? That’s the question…
If you’re asking me (you probably aren’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway), as a PR and Social Media Exec for drp, part of my role entails visiting and exploring venues – to network and to grow our social media outreach – and with this comes the chance to also try the culinary delights of said venues and/or restaurants, hotels, and events. With all these types of visits I report back to the wider team and pass on my thoughts and recommendations, so it’s a deal breaker to get it right.
Despite being an O-T-T foodie, I don’t think I am alone in stating that when people visit a venue, an event, anything for more than a few hours, the question is always, “How was the food? Was it good?” and if it wasn’t, it leaves a bit of an aftertaste.
Here’s a few sweet tip-offs to get your taste buds tingling:
When they launched their new restaurant in Old Street last year, the venue and the people running events really cared about the experience you were having. I was invited to watch a Pisco Sour being made (before drinking it) and was brought dishes that also came with a short explanation as to what they were and what I might like to try – I had never tried Peruvian food before, so this was a great way to learn and explore the food and culture of the place. Top marks!
Merlin Events, home of London Eye, Madam Tussauds, London Dungeons and more, put on a showcase for event professionals to be immersed in a Merlin Events experience. Immersed we were – in food AND in entertainment. With an arrival drink to start, we were whisked to a private ride on the London Eye and the pod was filled with canapés and prosecco. After this, we entered a world of foods, with three different adjoining rooms hosting Asian, British, Italian, and Japanese food AS WELL AS waitresses serving MORE canapés! There was also a room where you could become a mixologist and create your own cocktail from an eclectic array of mixers, fruits, and spirits. Wow. Well done Merlin.
This was a Christmas showcase, back in…. October. And despite not feeling very festive, by the end of it I basically felt like my inner Santa Claus was jumping for joy: endless Christmas music and endless food. It began at Dinerama, with some tasty cocktails and a selection of generously proportioned fried chicken and other unhealthy-but-delicious variants. Then, we caught a Christmas-themed double-decker bus and they really had decked the halls, or bus, if you will. Tinsel and flashing lights galore, we were given more alcohol and some sugary doughnuts before getting to Hawker House. On arrival, there were more drinks as well as vouchers to use three of their street food pop-up vendors. Amazing! Like pop-ups? I wrote about them here.
The Bad / The Ugly
I’m not that cruel, so I won’t state the restaurants that have got it wrong; but just as an example – I do recall being in a beautiful venue distracted by constantly looking for the next tray of canapés to grace my presence. They didn’t. I even attempted to network closer to the kitchen’s exit, to no luck. Another terrible experience was being at the launch of a new bar with masses of people and waiting ages for something. Then, ONE tray of miniature burgers came out and what appeared to be thousands of hands appeared from thin air (honestly) and the tray was empty within 0.5678 seconds. So, this leads me to listing things that perhaps venues should do / not do:
- Make sure you have MORE than enough to feed your guests – don’t scrimp on impressing for that all important first impression (but don’t waste food of course! Check out our blog on how brands have solved this here.)
- Quality – for Pete’s sake – try before you buy. You might put loads of food out, but if it tastes like dry bread sprinkled with onion dust then that’s what people will remember. So, try pixie dust.
- Have enough waitresses / tables / space to feed your guests and keep the food flowing all night – you never know who you might have missed (me!). Stay sustainable though, here’s some venues that have got it down to a T (click here to find out who).
Moral of my soap-box-esque blog piece? Always over deliver, never under deliver when it comes to food, and deliver it well.
Emily Johnson – PR and Social Media Executive at drp