Corporate events have looked very different this year (if they’ve happened at all). While we hope that some things about events return to normal, “going virtual” is likely a trend that’s here to stay. For the near future large conventions, galas, conferences, and more will happen from the comfort of our homes. This new virtual event reality has left many of our corporate clients struggling to create engagement and enjoyment through a computer screen.
Food is a flexible way to create a shared experience, even while attendees participate from different locations. So, as our client, CASA of Travis County, started planning their annual gala for February, they turned to us to make their virtual event something really special.
Together we began brainstorming ways to support a virtual event with over 700 expected attendees in the Austin area. As you might expect, it was challenging, but we created solutions to help them achieve their vision. Here are a few of the ways we plan to have a successful event:
Solution #1: Quality and Timing
Delivering meals to so many individuals for everyone to enjoy high-quality food at the same time wouldn’t quite be possible. As an alternative, attendees will be gathering in small pods at host homes around the city. Small groupings reduced the number of delivery points to a manageable number, while keeping each gathering to an acceptable size. It also allowed the client to designate hosts, who will see to the logistics of heating and serving meals at each location. Some locations will even have a Royal Fig team member on-site to assist.
Solution #2: Compatible Menu Selections
Even with small groupings, we’ll need a six-hour window for delivery, so delivering hot meals at the event start time won’t be possible. However, our client still wanted to ensure that guests would experience a satisfying, warm meal during the event. We set to work carefully planning a menu that we could deliver cold with reheating instructions, while confidently expecting outstanding flavor and quality. Additionally, we wanted to accommodate dietary restrictions so that all guests could have a great meal.
With all of this in mind, we settled on five options for guests to select from: Shiner Bock Short Ribs, Texas Ranch Spiced Chicken, Spaghetti Squash Cakes (vegan), Italian Meatballs, and a Chef’s Choice meal for special dietary restrictions, in addition to varying inclusions of appetizers and desserts based on the pod.
Solution #3: Delivery
On the morning of the event, our team will go into high gear to ensure that prepared foods are loaded and sent out for delivery as quickly as possible. In addition to our drivers, we’ll have eight team members spread across two of our locations to keep distribution as efficient as possible. Timing is critical so that we can keep all meals at appropriate food safety temperatures during delivery. We’ve divided Austin into four delivery areas (north, south, east, and west) and coordinated with hosts to ensure someone will be available to accept the deliveries immediately.
Solution #4: Eating Together at a Virtual Event
Sharing a meal with over 700 other people almost seems like a mirage after the last year, but the guests at this virtual gala will be doing just that. We made sure that our delivery window preceded the event by enough time to allow all hosts to heat their meals at the same time.
All in all, the logistics of a virtual corporate event this large are extensive. However, as the gala begins, these meals, enjoyed in separate spaces all over the city, will help guests feel truly engaged. We are excited to see our team stretch and adapt to continue allowing people to gather around a delicious meal, even if that looks a little bit different than it once did.
If you’re planning virtual events for a remote team in the Austin area, reach out to us today to see how we could bring your team members and guests together.