The tech revolution has brought more than computing power to the workplace. Some of the other things that Silicon Valley taught the corporate world are: casual dress beats the heck out of suits and pantyhose, interactive communications are at the heart of productivity, and fun makes the business world go ‘round.
Also, taco catering is perhaps the best thing that ever happened to business meetings.
Yes, on-site gourmet taco carts are a manifestation of the digital revolution. How so? It’s more than just the fact that gourmet tacos are hand-held devices. In a broader sense, it’s about how people interact and what leads to a productive business event. The traditional keynote lunch event – where the 250-pound former linebacker and the 110-pound former dancer, today now coworkers, are served the same-size chicken dinner – does not work for every occasion. Quite the contrary, the sit-down meal limits meeting participants to spending 75 minutes with just eight or ten people at a single table.
The more casual food station approach to corporate meetings and events is a wholly different approach. Most companies want to foster interaction between people. The meal isn’t time off from the meeting, rather it’s an extension of it. With a food-cart catered event, the meeting planners effectively help the event hosts to accomplish the following:
- Allow attendees to be creative – The old way of doing business involved the tried-and-true. A top-down approach to business meals therefore meant one dish was all that was offered (perhaps with a vegetarian plate that sometimes meant a sad plate of mixed vegetables). The information age approach to creative lunches allows the individual to choose their ingredients, the number of portions and the sauces or salsas on top.
- Enable the mix and mingle – Instead of marooning event attendees on a single table of people, encourage a freer flow of people and their ideas. One party planner clustered cocktail tables near posters that asked bold questions (“Why might your product be extinct in five years?” and “What does your customer dislike about you?”). As attendees brought their taco-cart plate to one area, they engaged with others there for five or ten minutes, then moved on to the next poster and the next taco cart to have a different discussion with different people.
- Adapt to last-minute attendance surges – The taco-cart approach has a very practical side. If suddenly 50 or 100 new people are added to a meeting (late RSVPs?), adding another cart or two is relatively simple.
In other words, it helps for a business event meal to be as adaptable as workplace technology is today. It’s more fun, more productive – and given the “open source” nature of you-build-it gourmet tacos, it’s a lot tastier too.