Refreshing breaks that set a nice rhythm for the meeting agenda keep guests energetic for the whole day. It is a plus for the meeting organiser that the participants remain active and productive for the entire day,” says the chef of Pääposti restaurant, Arttu Laakso. The ability to assimilate new things, concentration and creativity drop off significantly after just two hours of an uninterrupted meeting.
Meeting guests at Pääposti can choose between ready-made meeting menus or plan the catering suitable for their occasion themselves. “A whole day of meetings should start with light food in the morning. Towards the afternoon, the food can be a little more substantial,” says Laakso. “A big sweet bun at the crack of dawn can make for a quiet party,” he adds.
Although Danish pastries and savoury pastries are still being served at meetings, catering has also become lighter and developed in a direction more supportive of well-being. “Healthiness has taken the number one position when it comes to the catering for meetings these days,” says Laakso. “Small portions that are ready and easy to eat and served in glasses, for instance, are popular and arouse interest. Raw cakes, berries and refreshing smoothies also sell well. The consumption of tea has increased, but so has the use of tea as an ingredient in various pastries, for example,” remarks Laakso. “The one trend that trumps all other trends is standing. The public health message of the dangers of sitting seems to be on everyone's lips. Meeting guests want to stand up and stretch their legs during breaks, and catering for meetings is developing in a direction that allows people to enjoy food on their feet.”
The very latest thing in catering for meetings are food-related stories
According to Laakso, the most common diets, lighter options, good flavours and attractive displays are already a matter of course when planning a catering. “The customers can be informed about power foods or that the salad contains quinoa, which was once the most important crop cultivated by the Incas in the Andes,” explains Laakso. A waiter presents the food and tells the guests about new and exciting food and flavour combinations, such as an avocado and kale smoothie. “It's not only the food but often the food stories that provide guests with an experience,” says Laakso.
As for a perfect day of meetings, Laakso would start it off with lavish Breakfast of the House. Lunch would be served in the form of a refreshing salad bar, which keeps people energetic and drowsiness at bay. “It would also be a good idea to serve small snacks throughout the day to maintain a steady level of productivity,” says Laakso. “I'm of the opinion that a meeting should end on a pleasant note, regardless of how tough a meeting people have just been through. A small surprise to round it all off could take the form of a glass of non-alcoholic sparkling wine, coupled with a delicious macaron, for example. Another memorable way to conclude a meeting might be a 30-minute wine and chocolate tasting, where you get to learn a few basics about combining flavours by way of tastings,” Laakso reveals. While the topic of a meeting may be forgotten over time, the venue and a pleasant conclusion to the day may remain with guests for a long time.