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Taking Care of Business

Chafing DishesEntertaining isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when people get together and talk shop, but there are certain times when your business’ continued success requires it. Business’ needs vary, but, occasionally, lubricating vital client relationships, luring new prospects, or just having some face-to-face-time to hammer out the details of a current project means food will be involved in the work setting. It can raise some problems you wouldn’t face at home or in another social venue, so these situations deserve some airtime.

When was the last time your business entertained, for any of these reasons? Do you remember what went right and what failed? Many times, space is tight, not so conducive to the prep work that’s required. Without attractive trays or proper serve-ware, a less-than-spectacular impression results, when all is said and done. Not exactly what you were going for, right? Certain foods need to be warm or crispy-cold to be their best, so the right equipment is essential. It’s probably why so many otherwise smart businesses opt for a quick take-out solution. But beware: It’s the rare entertainment scenario that’s pushed forward by paper bagged food! And, by the way, what kind of message are you giving those significant others when you serve it up this way? These opportunities are perfect to communicate how much you value everyone’s participation!

Consider how much time the business-event planner (you, maybe?) has to dedicate to this whole proposition. Consider your company’s resources, too. Realize that the planner’s hourly wage is part of the price paid when you do it yourself. Make notes about the goals, ingredients, and necessary equipment, from start to finish, and make it memorable…in a good way.

The office may not be as comfortable a venue as home, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bore. Getting your resources in line well ahead of time is the key. Where will it be? For how many people? What serving dishes will work best? What is the most inviting arrangement of colorful tableware, considering the circumstances? The layout needs to be a help, rather than a hindrance to the business function. How can you ensure that there will be enough food, beverages, and ice? Planning it all ahead avoids unwelcome surprises at the event.

A call for professional help, even for a working lunch, is often the best way to go. You get back to your most pressing tasks and enjoy that work-related event instead of sweating it! If you need help, I’d be thrilled to make you look like a star! And, who knows? Weren’t they thinking of promoting you?