Navigating the pitfalls of group dining


Can too much of a good thing be bad? London has one of the coolest gastronomic scenes in the world; but what kind of pitfalls does that bring when looking to book for a corporate event?

According to the Office for National Statistics there are over 18,000 restaurants in London, and that may not include coffee shops, delivery, catering and experiences. The Capital isn’t short of options, the biggest issue is selecting what to choose.

Chains or independent? London is awash with both. Indian, Thai, Italian, French, Georgian, Chinese, Scandinavian, Pan-Asian, or Fusion; the list seems endless and ever-changing as London’s rich diversity is played out among its global food options.

On a budget or money to burn? Vegetarian or vegan, how about molecular? Is it a buffet, finger food, or sit-down meal? What about street food and just eat on the go? So many questions, but where to start?

Motivate your team with food and drink

There may be no such thing as a free lunch but food and drink experiences, or group dining, are wonderfully simple solutions to motivating your team and creating new bonds. Food is a level playing field where everyone can get involved.

Low morale has been linked with a wide range of problems, including decreased productivity, absenteeism and more, but by scheduling regular get-togethers with a range of styles and tastes you can create a
calendar of events that everyone can look forward to.

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The White House, spread across three floors, is tailor made for group dining

Group dining challenges

Booking a table for two is relatively easy once you’ve found the right restaurant and it’s available, but booking for groups and corporate events has numerous obstacles.

Budgeting: Most restaurants may be looking for a minimum spend, but how can you know beforehand? With corporate events often being booked by a PA or office manager, who may not actually be there on the night, what happens if spend gets out of control? Who takes care of payment on the night and will they bring back a decent receipt?

Food: Who gets to pick the menu? Do people pick for themselves on the night? A la carte, set menu or buffet?

Deposits: Often when booking you may be asked for a deposit, and do you really need the hassle of creating an invoice for 50% now, 25% a week before and then working out the difference afterwards?

Number of diners: Are you 100% sure of how many people are coming; should you invite the team from Manchester? Not sure? People tend to leave it for now, come back to it later, and the area has been booked by someone so it’s back to the drawing board.

Private dining or shared experience: Have your own room or a big table among the hustle and bustle? How many people could you seat together?

Simon Nichols, UK country manager at Evendo, says: “We’ve tried to take away some of the headaches of booking group dining by creating set menus, allowing the customer to hold their reservation until they know the final number, easy payment, and budget control, as well as ensuring we have the most up to date food and drink trends.”