Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Meanwhile, morning meetings work well because they don't interrupt the day, plus people are most alert first thing in the morning. Thus, it makes sense to combine the two, creating breakfast meetings. Here are seven options to choose from when planning your business meeting catering needs.
Continental Breakfast Ideas
Served buffet style, this is the most cost-effective menu option, and hotels or caterers may offer two or three levels of options in this category—offering event planners different choices. Items may include:
- One to three juices (e.g., apple, orange, tomato)
- Assorted baked breakfast bread (e.g., croissants, muffins, toasts)
- Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea
- Seasonal fruit (usually an upgrade option)
- Assorted cereals and dried fruits (usually an upgrade option)
When to choose this option: A continental breakfast is good for team meetings, training or customer events that may include staff to mid-level management.
Traditional Breakfast Buffets
If you take a close look at menu pricing, you will notice that catering services are guiding the event planner to this option for maximum value. Available usually as a standard or deluxe level option, they usually include the continental items as well as the following:
- Scrambled eggs
- Meat (e.g., bacon, sausage)
- Fried potatoes
When to choose this option: If the event planner isn't under too tight of a budget constraint, this is usually a safe choice. Breakfast buffets are better options in the winter and/or when "healthy food" isn't requested by the client.
An excellent way to make any breakfast event memorable is to add a made-to-order breakfast station that incorporates fresh ingredients. Popular stations include:
- Omelet station
- Waffle station
- Pancake station
When to choose this option: Breakfast stations are added to continental or breakfast buffets. The cost will increase an event planner's budget, but people enjoy freshly made items. Consider adding this to an event that includes mid-level and upper management attendees.
Plated meals offer a more formal touch to a breakfast business meeting or event. Most caterers will offer several different options that allow a planner to build anything from a fruit platter breakfast to traditional breakfast items or a signature local meal. Essentially, plated breakfasts are a presentation of the various continental or traditional breakfasts.
When to choose this option: A plated breakfast is usually easier to pull off in a more intimate setting, such as an executive breakfast meeting.
A La Cart Options
To be honest, it's not recommended to build a breakfast menu a la carte because it isn't cost-effective. Priced usually based on quantity rather than per person, a quick sampling of popular a la carte items to get your thinking started include:
- Soft drinks
- Bottled water
- Lemonade, iced tea
- Bottled water
- Flavored coffee
- Bagels with assorted cream cheeses
When to choose this option: It's best to add a la carte items to one of the continental, buffet or plated approaches.
With increased attention to health and wellness, many event planners are looking for hotels and caterers to offer more healthy items for their guests. It is occasionally challenging because it seems some of the larger hotel and/or convention center catering departments are still working to catch up. First, make sure the menu does not include anything fried. Then, it helps to request that they consider a custom menu, including some of the following:
- Granola cereals
- Whole grain bread
- Low-fat spreads
When to choose this option: Choose this option when wellness and health are important to guests.
Although most people don't have the time to enjoy breakfast, they aren't usually impressed by the typical hotel or catered event breakfast menus. To make your breakfast meeting more interesting, try one of these suggestions:
- Assorted fruit yogurts served in glassware
- Fresh granola bars made by the executive chef
- Freshly prepared omelet station
A final note: Request that the venue provides a second type of breakfast meat, such as turkey bacon or turkey sausage in addition to traditional pork items.
100 Attendee Healthy Breakfast Menu
Sometimes event planners need to put aside the standard breakfast menus and create a completely different experience for their clients. The following healthy breakfast buffet menu was designed for a 100 attendee breakfast meeting with an agenda that was focused on health and wellness.
Cost: Approximately 20% more than a traditional breakfast buffet, but this menu included a smoothie station which is not included in the base price of any breakfast buffet. Therefore, overall, this healthy breakfast buffet cost relatively the same as most packaged menus.
- Orange, tomato, and cran-apple juice
- Smoothie station with an attendant and a display of various fresh cubed fruits and berries, honey, soy milk, and non-fat yogurt
- Hot oatmeal with soy milk, skim milk, half and half, brown sugar, bananas, dried cherries, roasted nuts
- House-made granola and assorted non-sugary cereals (Special K, All-Bran, etc.)
- Fresh scrambled eggbeaters (labeled)
- Grilled turkey and vegan sausage (labeled)
- Low-fat bran muffins and low-fat fruit muffins
- 7-grain bread and Austrian spelt bread for toasting
- Assorted bagels
- Fruit preserves, marmalade, cream cheese, peanut butter (two toasters on buffet)
- Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea
- Assorted energy drinks and vitamin waters