Stephen Jardine is one of the best known faces in the Scottish media. He also runs Taste Communications, an agency specialising in promoting Scottish food and drink.
We invited Stephen to share some insights into the changes in the provision of food and drink, as it becomes an integral, focal point in managing successful events.
“If one big thing has changed in terms of corporate events in the course of the past decade, it is food and drink.
Ten years ago eating options at outside events involved a simple choice, hot dog or burger? For inside gatherings the options were little better, and rubber chicken was a firm favourite on many menus. If you were really smart, you would eat before you left home.
How times change. Scotland has been going through a food and drink revolution, and eating options at corporate events reflect that.
I host a lot of conferences and award events and the quality of the eating experience has quite simply been transformed.
From canapés to buffets to sit down dinners, the difference is clear for all to see. Local suppliers are named on menus and what appears on the plate looks like the food you would expect in a restaurant rather than in a school dining hall.
Part of this is customer expectation. People just won’t put up any more with beef like shoe leather and soggy carrots. Our expectations inform our demands.
On top of that, event organisers recognise a great food and drink experience can make or break an event.
I’ve attended glittering gatherings which were badly let down by food that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But I’ve also been to ordinary events where clever, exciting food and drink options raise everything to a different level.
Think about events you’ve been to recently. When asked how it was, your response will often be built around the food. “Fantastic – really good meal” or “Awful – food was dreadful and ran out early”.
In my book, you can always cut back on the fireworks or spend a bit less on the flowers but when it comes to food and drink, every penny is well spent to help transform an ordinary event into something really memorable.”
Based in Edinburgh, Taste Communications are Scotland’s only specialist food and drink media company, which means they have unrivalled contacts and sector knowledge. Visit the Taste Communications website here, or contact Stephen on email@example.com.