The Performance Group (TPG) Participates in CEMA Event

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TPG sits on CEMA panel and discusses food and beverage trends within the hospitality industry.

Groups can expect to see up to forty percent increase on food that is labeled as organic.

The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) recently partnered with McCalls, a premier Bay Area catering company, to discuss food and beverage trends within the hospitality industry. Several industry leaders participated in the interactive panel discussion moderated by Stephen Denison, founding partner of McCalls. Panel members included: Lucas Schoemaker, Executive Chef at McCalls, Michael Wolf, Executive Chef at Oakland Marriott City Center, and Monica Logan, Vice President Operations at TPG.

The discussion focused on a variety of F&B topics geared toward the needs of event marketers looking for ways to improve the budgets and experiences of their company events. The first topic addressed was increasing food cost, and the impact of inflation on everything from fresh vegetables to farmed fish. Water shortages, climate change, and fuel cost all play an integral part in the steady increase. Lucas Schoemaker spoke about the trend, urging groups to control budgets by paying attention to seasonality. He also advised groups to remain flexible when looking to provide maximum impact on tight budgets. “There are tricks that work,” he explained. “For example, guests are tired on arrival night, so start your event with a cocktail reception and lighter fare saving more expensive food choices for your gala night.”

One trend each party witnessed was the emphasis on healthy choices and small presentation. “Guests want to choose from a variety of small plates. Then they want to go socialize with their peers,” Monica Logan explained. “Buffet lines and chaffing dishes filled with rich food are outdated.” But health comes at a cost, and groups can expect to see up to a forty percent cost increase on food that is labeled organic.    

To set the food and beverage experience up for success, clients should bring hotel chefs and food consultants from companies like McCalls into to conversation to co-create menus. “As a third party event planning company, we must wow the client while keeping costs down,” Monica Logan explained. “To do this successfully, we’ve started engaging our banquet chefs early and often to see how we can all please our client’s pallets and their wallets.” Michael agreed with this approach adding, “Marriott loves partnering with companies like TPG and developing cost effective menus that delight guests and allow our chefs to do their best work. In the end, this also helps us eliminate overproduction and waste.”

Finally, all parties agreed about the importance of educating clients, explaining that the days of providing the same experiences year over year at the same prices are over. “Let me sit with your client to gain an understanding of their objectives,” Michael offered. “Once I see a budget, I can serve as a trusted advisor, creating the menus and experiences that are high-quality and memorable.” Lucas closed by reminding the group of the importance of catering consulting services. “We speak the same language as hotel chefs,” he explained. “Once you build trust, you can talk about meeting expectations, whatever the budget.”

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Stuart Patton
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