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80% of guests go hungry at corporate events

Science of events food and drink

according to Science of Events survey

The Science of Events Survey which was undertaken by event caterers Jackson Gilmour and the Science Museum, is complete. This month the results are revealed relating to food and drink.
One of the most clear cut results of the survey was the indication that a large proportion of people go hungry at corporate evening receptions. Almost 80% of people told us they leave these events feeling like “they haven’t eaten enough”. This contrasted sharply with the small minority of people (12%) who felt they hadn’t had enough to drink while around 30% of people told us they feel like “they have drunk too much”.


Jackson Gilmour Director of Operations Francis O’Hagan comments: “Event organisers might want to think about putting more emphasis on food and a little less on drinks. Our survey results suggest that, in general, people are satisfied with the type and quantities of drinks on offer, but they expressed stronger views about the food. We try to encourage our clients to be generous with food but with so many demands on budget this important element of the party can get neglected.”

Respondents were also loud and clear about the kind of party food they like with canapés receiving 64% of the votes winning out over food stations and bowl food which both picked up around 20 per cent. And when it comes to a sit-down dinner, 82% would opt to eat “something new and exciting” with just 18% preferring “something familiar and comforting”.

“This is an interesting and slightly unexpected result,” suggest O’Hagan. “Event organisers tend to err on the side of caution when they are choosing menus for client dinners often opting for duck, lamb and beef. But these results indicate that guests might enjoy the opportunity to try something more challenging – and a more adventurous menu can be a great talking point and ice breaker.”

Two notable points were raised about timing; the first was that 60% of respondents would prefer their drinks parties shorter – just two hours, and secondly that people are inpatient for their food to arrive with 78% expecting food within 30 minutes of the party starting. Despite our increasing interest in diet and health, only 32% of people are concerned by the amount of calories in their food but it seems that guests are paying more attention to the where the food comes from. The vast majority (85%) were “very” or “moderately” interested in how the caterer sources their ingredients.

Alicia Earls Communications Manager for Corporate Events at the Science Museum comments: “We know that consumers in general are concerned by responsible food sourcing and quality ingredients and this growing trend is reflected in these results. I’m sure it is a view that will interest event organisers; people are entitled to expect the best quality from their luxury caterer.”

When it comes to drinks, event organisers seem to be getting it right. Most people (57%) are happy with the usual choice of champagne, wine, soft drinks and lagers with just over third (34%) requesting cocktails too. There was a general consensus on drink quantities too with over three quarters (76%) of respondents’ content with between two and three glasses of wine at a party.

And finally it seems that everyone checks out the waiting staff; a massive 84.5% said they notice what waiters and waitresses are wearing.

Francis O’Hagan concludes: “It’s not clear from this whether the guests simply enjoy looking at the waiting staff or whether they are trying to spot them to find the food. Judging from the statistics on hunger it might be the latter!”

In March the Science of Events team will be revealing what the Science of Events Survey has revealed about guests’ views on venues and in May final set of results will be released On July 10th the team will be unveiling “The Perfect Event Equation” at “The Perfect Event” at the Science Museum.

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