Meeting MPI Toronto - November/December 2015 - (Page 11)
ine arounds are part of every planner's past,
and food trends, and their partnerships can make your
present and future.
dine around event a seamless and fun experience for all involved.
We've likely experienced a less than perfect
one, either as a planner or an attendee. So how do
Let's talk about FOOD! Fancy, avant-garde trends are well
and good, but for dine arounds you need to find the sweet spot
you plan a successful one, make everyone happy and ensure
of blending trends with crowd pleasing favourites. The
you're giving your clients the hottest table in town?
restaurants can work with you to create specialty
You have to ask your client the right questions:
* Is it a networking, team building or incentive dinner?
* What is the desired outcome - increased sales, boosting
team morale or elevating the company's brand?
* What do they want to communicate about themselves, the
company, and/or the team?
* Is it casual, formal, trendy or more traditional?
* Is the client a foodie or a wine connoisseur? It helps
immensely to ask them what their favourite restaurants
are, as this will give you a good indication of what their
expectation level is.
They know their clients best - take their cue and
suggest restaurants that facilitate their needs. Ensure
you have selected restaurants with different offerings
and cuisine, and let the client decide which group is
best suited to each restaurant. Alternatively, you could
propose that guests sign up online for their preferred
What about group size? In my experience, the smaller the
options that will have high impact on value and low
impact on budget.
Things to consider:
* Family style dining is HUGE, and communal tables
made for sharing are perfect for a networking or team
* The restaurant may let you do an a la carte menu if the
group is smaller, which customizes the experience even further.
* Healthy, vegetarian, and environmentally conscious eating
is gaining popularity, so don't assume everyone is a meat
and potato eater.
* Don't forget a veg/vegan dish that contains protein - the
pasta veggie option just doesn't cut it anymore!
* Fresh local fare is a must.
* Don't insist on the same menu for each city - offer some
local specialties, it's a big part of the experience.
* Don't forget about dessert! Still very popular are the mini
dessert offerings - two or three on each plate or a chef's
selection sharing plate. It gives guests an opportunity
better with an optimal group size of 10-15 people, but can
to try several options without having to choose or eat
easily accommodate groups of 40+ in the right restaurant.
a whole dessert themselves. Fresh fruits with simple
Time it! Guests need to depart and return at approximately
the same time. This can be tricky, but not impossible.
accompaniments are increasingly popular as well.
The wine list can make or break the meal. Don't just
Toronto has many great restaurants very close to each other,
randomly pick a mid-range wine thinking it will suffice; a lot
making transportation and timing much easier. Speaking of
of restaurants have an on-staff sommelier or knowledgeable
transportation, think of how you want to get the group there.
manager. Ask them to come up with some pairings. Beer is
Is there budget for luxury mini buses? If not, get creative!
also big! Think about a beer tasting menu, or highlight any
Remember, the experience starts the second they sign up for
local specialty beverages.
the dinner, not at the restaurant.
Site them! And rely on your Destination Management
By keeping these tips in mind you can deliver a dine-around
experience that guests will talk about for years to come!
Company (DMC). Nothing beats first-hand experience, and they
most likely have been to, and/or eaten at each of the restaurant
options. It's their job to stay current with the city's restaurants
Jacqueline Hooper is a Program Manager at JPdL Toronto and
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
www.facebook.com/MPIToronto | twitter.com/MPIToronto | www.mpitoronto.org | MEETING * 11
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting MPI Toronto - November/December 2015
Welcome, New Members!
Going Healthy: Trend Not Fad
The Foodies’ Dine Around
Traditional Holiday Menus with a Twist
Member Spotlight: MPI Toronto’s M+IT Hall of Fame Finalists
Destination Spotlight: Québec
Food & Beverage Risk and Liability
Today’s Menu: Culinary Engagement and Team Building
Winery Events and Then Some
Fueling Our Mind and Bodies
Food & Beverage Trends 2016
I Spy MPI
Advertisers’ Index & Advertisers.com
Meeting MPI Toronto - November/December 2015