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A Meeting Planner’s Guide to Catered Events. Chapter Five Room Setups. Choosing the Room. Appearance Room dimension Ceiling height Number of columns Exits and entrances Proximity, number, and quality of restroom facilities. Choosing the room. Colors and types of floor and wall coverings

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A Meeting Planner’s Guide to Catered Events

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    1. A Meeting Planner’s Guide to Catered Events Chapter Five Room Setups

    2. Choosing the Room • Appearance • Room dimension • Ceiling height • Number of columns • Exits and entrances • Proximity, number, and quality of restroom facilities

    3. Choosing the room • Colors and types of floor and wall coverings • Sound insulation • Visibility • Lighting • Temperature • Smell • Layout

    4. Color • Attendees tend to eat and drink more in brightly lit, colorfully decorated surroundings. • Vibrant colors, such as brilliant red, hot pink, and bright yellow, stimulate the appetite. • Dark tones dull the appetite. Examples of colors that cool the appetite are dark green, navy blue, gray, and black.

    5. Table Placement Affects Food Consumption • An hors d’oeuvre table placed against a wall provides only 180-degree access to the food. • A rectangular table in the center of the room provides two open sides and 360-degree access to the food, allowing greater food consumption.

    6. Table Placement • A round table in the center of the room gives an appearance of a lavish presentation, but since there is no way for a line to form to circle the table, guests have to work their way in and out at various points for each item they wish to eat, which decreases food consumption.

    7. Location of Room • In relation to: • Kitchen • Parking lots • Sleeping rooms • Rest rooms • Elevators • Receiving areas • Business center

    8. Utilities • Type of electricity available • Number, types, and locations of outlets, etc. • Maximum lighting and wattage • Lighting controls • HVAC capacity • Speakers • Doors • WiFi

    9. Number of attendees Type of dining tables used Aisle space Open-space setup Dance-floor space Bandstand Other entertainment Head tables Bank mazes Reception needs Buffet tables Beverage stations Side stands, tray jacks, bus carts Action stations Staging areas Cashiers Display areas Landing space Meeting activity during the meal Style of service Audience separation Accessible seating Space Requirements

    10. Number of Attendees • The local fire code will dictate the maximum number of people who can be legally housed in a function room.

    11. Types of Dining Tables • Allocate about 10 square feet per attendee at rectangular banquet tables. • With round tables allow 12 1/2 square feet per guest. • Assuming the caterer is using standard 20 inch by 20 inch chairs. • Adjust your estimates if smaller or larger armchairs are used. • Round tables are easiest for the staff to service, and they maximize interaction among guests. • Chair backs should be placed from two to three feet apart.

    12. Aisles • Aisles allow people to move easily around the room without squeezing through chairs and disturbing seated attendees. • Provide buffer between seating areas and food and beverage areas. • 48” is preferable, with 36” as bare minimum.

    13. Aisles • Leave enough entry and exit room for attendees. • Cross-aisle space is very important when setting large functions.

    14. Dance Floors • Portable dance floors come in 3 feet by 3 feet (i.e., 9 square feet) sections. • Plan on one section for every three attendees. • A 24 foot by 24 foot dance floor covers approximately 600 square feet of floor space. • Sufficient for approx. 200 attendees.

    15. Head Tables • Usually need about 25 percent to 100 percent more floor space than regular dining tables. • If the tables will be on risers, increase space estimate to accommodate the platform area, steps, and to spread the table-and-person weight properly over the stage.

    16. Head Tables • A raised head table for twelve people, plus a lectern, should be a minimum of 26 feet long. • The rule of thumb is 2 feet per person, plus 2 ½ feet for the lectern. • For more comfortable seating, allow 2 1/2 to 3 feet per person.

    17. Reception Space • You will need about 5 ½ to 10 square feet of floor space per attendee. • With 5 ½ to 6 square feet, people will feel a bit tight. • They also will have more difficulty getting to the food and beverage stations. • Therefore, lower consumption.

    18. Reception Space • Seven and a half square feet per person is considered to be a "comfortably-crowded" arrangement. • It is thought to be the ideal amount of floor space per person for receptions and other similar functions.

    19. Reception Space • Ten square feet provides more than ample space for attendees to mingle and visit easily the food and beverage stations. • An appropriate amount of floor space for a luxury-type reception. • It is not an appropriate setup if your client is paying according to the amount of food and beverage consumed.

    20. Reception Space • Take into account space taken up by buffet tables, check-in tables, plants, props, and other décor when forecasting the number of attendees that can be served adequately.

    21. Buffet Tables • All food stations need enough floor space for the tables and aisles. • An 8-foot long rectangular banquet table needs about 24 square feet for the table, and about 60 square feet for aisle space (if the table is against the wall). • About 100 square feet for aisle space is needed if the table is accessible from all sides.

    22. Buffet Table Considerations • Number of attendees expected • Length of dining time • Amount of service equipment required • Type of service equipment required • Type of menu • Style of service • Amount of decor desired on the buffet line • Amount of total floor space available in the function room

    23. Allocate Two Running Feet of Buffet Table for Each Food Container Needed • Three hot offerings, three cold offerings, and a condiment basket, require a buffet table about 14 to 16 feet long. • Two standard 8-foot rectangular banquet tables will take about 48 square feet of floor space for the buffet table and approximately 150 square feet of standard 3-foot aisle space surrounding the buffet table. • Total allocation for this setup is about 200 square feet.

    24. Room Set Affects Flow • Table locations, exhibits, displays, food-and-beverage-station locations, table sizes, head table, seating mix (i.e., number of rounds of 8, rounds of 10, and so forth), table spacing, table settings, and preferred decor usually are planned by the caterer and the meeting planner.

    25. Graphic Layout Software • Meeting Matrix • Room Viewer • Vivien • Gliffy

    26. Standard Tables/30” High

    27. Other Tables • Schoolroom or classroom table • Serpentine table • Half-moon table • Quarter-moon table • Cocktail table • Oval table

    28. Chairs • Seat height should measure 17 inches from the floor. • Most common seat-cushion dimension is 20 inches by 20 inches.

    29. Bar Layout • Unlike food, alcoholic-beverage service tends to be very standardized. • Avoid grouping bars too closely to prevent crowd build-up. • In a large room, ask the caterer to first open the bars farthest from the entrance to encourage guests to move into the room.

    30. Coffee Station and Refreshment Break Layout • There are more compulsive coffee drinkers in the U.S. than there are compulsive liquor drinkers, and they need coffee throughout the day. • Coffee drinkers are generally impatient and want their coffee right away, especially in the morning.

    31. Coffee Station • Coffee station setup should be separated from the rest of the refreshment center. • Must be visible and easy to understand. • You must make access easy. • Traffic must flow smoothly with no backtracking.

    32. Coffee Station • Attendees can draw 5 gallons of coffee from a single urn in 15 minutes. • It is critical that the caterer provide adequate and speedy replenishment. • You can anticipate 20 6-ounce cups of coffee per gallon.

    33. Coffee Station • It takes twice as long to add cream and sugar as it does to pour coffee. • Cream and sugar should never be placed directly in front of the coffee urns. • By placing these items away from the urns, the line will move much faster.

    34. From Left to Right, Items Should be Placed in This Order to Facilitate the Traffic Flow At a Coffee Station: • Cups and saucers • Regular coffee • Decaffeinated coffee • Hot water for tea • Teabags, sugar, sweeteners, cream, lemon slices • Spoons or stirrers • Napkins • Food (ideally this would be at the far end of a table, or on a separate table)

    35. Buffet Layout • Buffets allow attendees to choose their favorite menu items. • Attendees also have some personal control over the portion sizes. • However, it is imperative to offer foods that hold up well.

    36. Buffet Layout • Buffets are generally faster and more efficient than table-service, assuming that there are enough buffet lines to accommodate the attendees quickly and efficiently. • One disadvantage of buffets is the possibility that some attendees will be finished eating while others are still waiting in line.

    37. Buffet Layout • Lower cost food items, such as salads and breads, should be placed first on the table so that the attendees' plates will be full when they reach the main course. • Cut down on consumption by using a 9-inch plate instead of a 10-inch or 11-inch one.

    38. Buffet Layout • Request small containers of food on the buffet line that hold no more than 25 to 30 servings. • They will be more attractive than large, elaborately garnished containers. • Only the first few attendees through the line will see the beautifully garnished large presentations before they are disturbed. • Small containers will need frequent replacement, thereby maintaining a fresh and attractive appearance. • However, this may require more labor.

    39. Buffet Layout • Experience shows that attendees will take smaller portions from smaller containers, and larger servings from bigger containers. • Save more on food cost than you spend for any extra labor. • Most buffets are set with one line for every 100 attendees. • This is based on the assumption that it takes 100 persons about 20 minutes to go through the line.

    40. Buffet Layout • One line is one side of a buffet table; if there are two sides (double-sided buffet table), this counts for two lines. • The maximum amount you can serve efficiently with one line is 120 attendees. • The break point is 120 attendees. • You should plan one line for every 100 attendees, but you should have two lines if the number of attendees ranges from 120 to 200.

    41. Tablescapes • The top of the table is the “stage.” • Once attendees are seated they will spend the rest of the meal function looking at the table. • The table presentation sets expectations for the meal and should reflect the theme. • The colors chosen for napery should not clash with the carpet or wall treatments.

    42. Tablescapes • Each place setting is referred to as a cover; it includes placement of flatware, china, and glassware. • The cover should never be empty, or what is called a "naked cover." • A show plate, folded napkin, menu, or preset first course should be placed between the flatware.

    43. Tables • Tables should be padded so that table noises are minimized. • The typical dining table and buffet table often have pad under-liners placed underneath the tablecloths.

    44. Place Setting • The exact place setting depends primarily on the menu and style of service. • Flatware is placed in the order in which it will be used by the attendee, from the outside in. • The soup spoon would be on the outside and far right, as soup is usually an early course. • The knife would be closest to the center plate, with the blade edge facing the rim of the plate. • The smaller salad fork would be set to the left of the dinner fork on the left side of the plate.

    45. Place Setting • Dessert flatware set above the plate would have the bowl of the spoon facing the attendee’s left, and the tines of the fork facing to the attendee’s right. • Coffee cups should not be preset at a formal dinner. • They should be placed on the table after dinner when coffee service begins.

    46. Centerpieces • Appropriate for the type of function. • An edible centerpiece, such as a bountiful basket of various types of bread, makes an attractive and inviting centerpiece • Consider how flowers will look on the day you will be using them. • For flowers in full bloom, they should be purchased a few days early to allow them to open fully.

    47. Centerpieces • Keep in mind that strongly scented flowers, such as Tiger Lilies, can interfere with the palate, i.e., taste of the food. • To avoid this, some meeting planners use balloon art in lieu of floral arrangements.

    48. Centerpieces • Centerpieces on dining tables should never be at eye level. • They should not interfere with a person's normal sight line. • They should be placed under or over these sight lines. • You do not want uncomfortable attendees peering under, over, or around centerpieces trying to see the person on the other side. • Attendees should not have to have a conversation with a disembodied voice.