Ok, so I am going to a wedding expo next month. I've done a few weddings in the past 6 months that we've been in business. However, I'm stuck as to what dishes to bring. Of course they have to travel and sit well, as the even is four hours. They also have to be very appealing to the eye, with out TOO much work. Some ideas I'm working with are, scallops in bacon, mini quiches...Basically I'm stuck on what will work and would love any ideas.
Cold stuff is best. You might consider a croustini bar, veg & cheese display - things like that that will keep better. Just make your displays look awesome!
Another idea is to offer something you can cook on site - like pasta with a couple of different sauces.
Having done many of these types of events, sure, you want to give them a little taste of something but the main reason you are there is to bring in business - not fill bellies. Make sure your table display is eye catching and beautiful, have brochures on hand to give out, But mostly, schedule appointments to meet with these couples to discuss their upcoming weddings.
We've offered a "free" wedding in a random drawing that most of these shows have. Of course there are restrictions to "free" but we've booked many weddings this way. We also get all information - have forms ready for them to fill out - and we follow up by offering a free something or other if they book their wedding within x amount of time. This also works well.
IMO 4 hours is not enuf time to do a big showcase with action stations.
The BTBs and planners will take something to eat and keep walking so you need to plan accordingly in order to slow them down and draw them into your space and if you have your head down the entire time you will miss out on a great deal of potential business.
The flow of traffic will most likely be from one side of your space to the other.
Find out from the Expo peeps which way they plan for the flow to go and stand at the "beginning" of your space.
While you have them on the phone ask how many tickets have been sold and how many "guests" you can expect.
Obviously this will help plan how many treat portions to prep.
Dress a few small tables (single place settings) in fabulous linens and pretty china and maybe a small flower accent... make them COVET your tables and place your gift bags at the "end".
Drape some tulle and string fairy lites in it.
Position a few columns with large draping ferns on top.
You want to draw them into your booth so anything this side of tacky is fair game.
Don't skimp as this is what they will take home and you want them to remember you.
Brochures, business card(s), menus printed on beautiful creamy stationary.... maybe a wrapped sweet would be nice (they will be looking thru all of this at home so it is nice to have SOMETHING to slow them down and actually look at the contents not just empty the bag out on the pile of other bags and....forget).
As for menu samples.
I hate them but this is what everyone does now so you will need to as well.
Maybe a soup (savory or sweet) shooter....petits fours (purchased of course lol)...doesn't need to come from your menu.
Whatever it is it needs to be easy to eat with one hand.
You could dress in black tie (a particular favorite of mine) and offer a sample size of something from a silver tray.
Not too large as you will be holding it up for 4 hours.
Catch their eye...shake hands...introduce yourself...and SMILE.
Believe me they will forget what they sampled but they will remember YOU.
Just a few ideas...use them or take them a step further.
These shows can take a huge chunk out of your yearly marketing budget so make them pay their way.
People remember fun.
If you are allowed to do on site cooking, every so often saute mire poix, hit it with some herbs and saute some more. The smell will draw people your way. Then for the real kicker, hit it with some brandy and flambe (the bigger the better), that will really catch people's eye and draw them like moths to a flame. Have a stock pot going on another burner and add the mire poix to the pot. Tell people who ask that you are making a triple infused vegie stock in preparation for a _______ (make up a dish) that you will be preparing for a future party.
I agree with most posts.
I used to do these all the time.
Remember that whatever you choose to serve is a reflection of your business.
To that end you would want to prepare something that is pretty much foolproof.
The people that come to these expos are there to look at what the property offers in the way of business.
The food served is a "freebie" given away by what ever booth is advertising.
Avoid foods that will "cook" in the chaffing pan. The OP's suggestion of bacon wrapped scallops or quiche do not sit well in chaffing dishes.
Action stations deter from your selling points and make it difficult to talk to customers while cooking.
This has been VERY helpful information. All the input was very useful. I also appreciate ideas other than the food, like as far as how to present yourself and the business. Yes, we're investing a lot of money in this expo so it needs to be great. Didn't even think to call the organizers and ask how many people have registered. That is necessary information for planning purposes. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. We're thinking about caprese skewers, smoked salmon cucumber rolls and bruschetta. Love the idea about having a table setting as we would have for a wedding.
One thing I've noticed is that while the food matters, a good portion of our jobs were gotten based on the people we are, so I agree that we are also selling ourselves, as well as our food and service. Many caterers forget it's not just about the food (or so clients of mine have told me).
Now I'm just stuck as far as a giveaway. I have to have a raffle prize available.