If you’re tasked with planning a business dinner and have never done it before, don’t stress! Whether the purpose of the dinner is to celebrate a big win, to kick off a new product or marketing campaign, or to meet with important clients, you can make it awesome and successful by following this guide we’ve created. Read on!
The first step is to determine when you will be hosting the dinner and ensuring that it’s a suitable date that does not interfere with any big company plans or other events. Once you choose a venue, you’ll also want to confirm that the date you have planned is still open.
Not all business dinners need a theme, but if your dinner is centered around a certain event you may want to consider having a theme, guest speakers or interactive activities that guests can participate in to make it more interesting. Choosing a theme is also helpful because you can create decorations centered around it. If there is no big theme, even choosing a color theme will help narrow down your options for decorations.
A formal invite is great, but you can always create an evite and email it to all those who you wish to attend. It goes without saying that you need to make sure it includes the address and all the other details. Plus, be sure to have a start and an end time; most experts recommend that business dinners go no longer than 3 hours. If you are having any guest speakers, make sure you tell them separately what time and for how long you expect them to speak and the importance of sticking to the schedule.
Popular choices for business dinners include hotel ballrooms or conference rooms, or perhaps there’s a local organization that has meeting rooms that are suitable. If you are hosting the dinner at your home or someone else’s, it’s a good idea to go over where everything will go—tables, chairs, parking, etc.—ahead of time to ensure there’s enough room for everyone.
Food is probably one of the most important aspects of your business dinner for obvious reasons. So planning out your menu is something you should do well in advance and with consideration for things like allergies, gluten intolerance, vegetarian choices and other dietary restrictions your guests may have. Although you can’t please everyone, it’s a good idea to serve items that are considered mainstream to most people. If you are using a caterer, they should be able to guide you on the many choices and how much food you’ll need for the amount of people you’re expecting. Often a buffet is a good choice because it gives guests the freedom to choose what they want to eat.
Depending on the mood you want to create, choose decorations like tablecloths and flowers, candles and other items that will set the tone for the evening. Add a little fun by putting a disposable camera on each table and letting your guests snap pics and selfies with each other. You can have a bin somewhere onsite that they can toss the cameras into and then develop and send them out with a letter thanking them for attending.
After you’ve received your RSVP’s and set up all the details, be sure to do a quick run through of the venue, menu and seating arrangements (if you’re doing formal seating). And confirm any guest speakers you’ve invited to make sure they know when and where to go.
Planning a business dinner can be stress free if you follow this guide and give yourself enough time to pull it all together. If you want to do something a little unexpected that’s sure to be a hit, let Cold Stone Creamery cater dessert! We’ll bring our famous cold stone and create custom treats for all your dinner guests.