mess. Furniture is critical to a meeting space and the dynamic of a
meeting. High tables and no chairs, or maybe stools, allow people to
stand and move around and add pace and creativity to a discussion.
The feel of a meeting held whilst standing is totally di erent to one
sat around a corporate table and far removed from one using easy
chairs and low co ee tables. Change the heights of table, the general
layout and style of chairs to reflect the nature of the meeting and
people involved. You will see a change straightaway.
If the room layout is good and the lighting at the right level, then
the final key point about the space itself is ventilation. Is there air
con? Or does a window open? An overheated room makes for foggy
thinking and the last thing anyone likes is a hot meeting room and
people almost nodding o . Make sure you book a meeting room that
is the correct size for the meeting that is taking place. A er all, you
wouldn’t want 10 people squeezing into a six-person room where the
ventilation would have been designed for far less occupancy.
There is nothing worse than arriving for what you think is a wellplanned
22 NOVEMBER 2019
meeting to find the space occupied. Or to have someone
interrupt your conversation to announce they have booked the room.
Those meeting rules we mentioned earlier must include booking
systems. It doesn’t matter if the method is reliant on an e icient
o ice manager and a paper diary, but you need a system you can rely
upon. Modern, digital room booking systems are great when working
in a large o ice and over several sites and add a robust online paper
trail to prove you own that space when and if you are interrupted.
THE CATERING EXPERT’S VIEW
SAM HURST, FOUNDER, GRAZING
Don’t let food be an
a erthought. It is hugely
emotive and can massively
impact the dynamic,
mood, productivity and
outcomes of a meeting. It
can also encourage people
to turn up to the meeting
in the first place, acting
as an incentive to come in
for an early breakfast, or a
lunch and learn session.
The number one priority
for a good productive
meeting spread should be
variety. No one wants to
eat the same thing day-in-day-out, in a meeting room or otherwise.
That doesn’t just mean changing up the sandwich fillings; it’s
about mixing up an o er with di erent types of food and di erent
presentation styles. This keeps it exciting, piques the senses and
feeds the mind, rather than sending it to sleep.
It’s important to consider the practicalities of what food works
best under the circumstances. Thick deli sandwiches and crusty
baguettes that drop crumbs everywhere simply aren’t fit for purpose
for a working lunch, whereas easy to pick up and eat or fork food
items are perfect. Small really is beautiful when it comes to meeting
room food. And of course, it’s vital to meet the inevitable dietary and
allergy requirements that result from a mixed group of people so that
no one goes hungry.
Sandwiches remain the firm favourite for meetings (representing
60 per cent of our meeting food orders) but clients are getting more
and more adventurous. Healthier salad options and on trend street
food items are growing in popularity, with the emphasis on food
being nice and light, rather than heavy and sleep-inducing. Sharing
platters remain the way to go at meetings, rather than individual
portions, because once people have broken bread together, it brings
them closer and makes for a more productive meeting.
Speak to Dr Google about what’s best to eat to make people more
productive and you’ll be hit by the usual berries, nuts chitter chatter.
The truth is, people want variety. Make the food good, o er choice,
and people will be engaged and motivated. This hasn’t changed
since the beginning of time.
Some things have changed over the years. The food and flavour
combinations have evolved to reflect high street trends while
sustainability has rightfully become ever more important. There’s
no room for single-use plastics in the meeting room these days. We
try to go a step further by ensuring 100 per cent of our electricity is
green and our vehicles are zero emissions. These e orts might not
be ‘visible’ during meetings but they are important to us and our
customers and form a crucial part of our o er. It creates a di erent
perception about the food and how it has arrived on the table. This
makes a di erence.
Meeting food ordering has also evolved as the sector demands
more in the way of agility and convenience. No longer are there
cumbersome calls, faxes and endless pieces of paper with orders
scribbled on, but everything is online. This inspired our online
ordering business model a few years ago. Providing a quality
food o er during meetings says a lot about the way in which an
organisation values its attendees.
Forget to feed people or give them poor quality refreshments, and
it sets the tone for every meeting.
Do you have a question that you’d like
answered by the FMJ Clinic?
ADVICE & OPINION