Exciting News: Convene is combining with SaksWorks. Learn more about our expansion plans here

Meeting & Event Planning

Conferencing: Why Food is Actually a Big Deal

Posted July 20, 2016 By Nancy Mann Jackson

Breakout rooms, whiteboards, Wifi: Each exists as a must-have on your list of conference resources. But there’s one tool often relegated to afterthought, despite the fact that its presence or absence can shape a day’s worth of work.


It’s food. Like broadband or projectors, food is necessary to the generation and execution of business ideas and strategy. Your participants are not productive, alert or receptive if they feel hungry or sluggish. For instance, research from Florida State University shows that healthy blood sugar levels are linked to increased self-control. Foods high in protein and fiber have been linked to increased productivity and attention spans. Because the right foods serve as fuel to support brain function and keep people feeling energized, the culinary aspect of a conference is critical.

Beyond caloric replenishment, food serves as a connection point. Gathering around the table for a meal or snack promotes collaboration and cooperation. Sharing a meal together is an age-old approach to developing relationships, building trust and creating community. A meal between sessions is an opportunity to decompress and process.

At Convene, food is not an afterthought; it is a foundational aspect of any meeting. Our approach reflects a philosophy not just about nutrition but about the way people work, and how to get them to work better.


Hassle-Free Planning

Every Convene facility is equipped with a commercial kitchen, staffed by professionally trained chefs who create seasonal menus that showcase top-quality, local ingredients. Of course, meals are meant to be anticipated, which is why our chefs strive to create dishes that appeal to all the senses, especially taste. “We want dining to be an exploratory process,” says Derek Damon, director of hospitality at Convene. “The entrees, sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts vary each day. Eating with us is really an experience.”

Every season, Convene Executive Chef German Villatoro, creates a new rotating menu for each day of the week, complete with healthy snacks for breaks, so attendees of two-, three- and five-day conferences never experience the same menu twice. Moreover, each menu is designed to accommodate a variety of palates and dietary needs. From prep to plating, Convene catering strives to delight your attendees, so that meals become not just something to be gotten through until the next presentation, but a delightful punctuation to your conference—with no effort from you.

“Our chefs have really worked to understand the needs of the client and create an experience that is well thought out and developed,” Damon says. “We take great pride in the food we make.”


Perfect Plates

As food science reveals the dramatic effect nutrition has on our ability to regulate energy levels, generate ideas and sustain concentration, Convene’s chefs have responded with meals designed to make the most of each meeting and workday.

While most conference menus focus on one-size-fits, carb-heavy meals that keep costs down, or a la carte offerings that require mammoth time commitments from event planners to parse, at Convene we believe a fully integrated service should take individual guests into account. And that includes attendee productivity.

After studying the science of serving large groups of people, our chefs have constructed “perfect plates,” which consider every palate and dietary need and support enjoyable, healthful experiences. That means a wide variety of fresh ingredients with special attention paid to protein- and fiber-rich foods with low glycemic indexes, which can help attendees avoid blood sugar highs and lows.

And to eliminate the need for planners to sift through menu offerings, our chefs make it a point to take dietary restrictions and food preferences into account as they craft menus. “Today’s client is not just eating steak and potatoes anymore,” Damon says. “People are really more concerned about how the foods they eat make them feel and the energy they provide.”

By carefully designing rotating menus that consider how to nourish, fuel and delight attendees, Convene eliminates the challenges of serving large groups with uncertain schedules. Instead of worrying about what to feed attendees, meeting planners can relax and watch the results thoughtful cooking can have on productivity levels and conference success.


Convene is revolutionizing the real estate industry. See how we support companies in successfully attracting and retaining the world's best tenants and talent, while creating environments that drive performance.