Food + Beverage: Planning Your Sample Menu

Full disclosure:

Nothing irks me more than going back and forth with caterers, negotiating about the items on a menu. In fact, the last answer I want to hear to the question "What would you recommend for a sit-down, 6-hour workshop for 25 women?" is,

"Well, what do you want?"

Because, while it's a very valid question, it just wastes everybody's time. As the client, planning a workshop, you're going to be busy. You don't need to spend 30 minutes on the phone with a prospective caterer, simply asking her what she recommends and her hemming and hawing because you're not even her client yet so she doesn't want to put in all this effort for no reason. You're smarter than that.

So instead, you have two options:

1. Give her your DREAM menu

2. Ask her what she can do for $XX (another post for another day. But literally, you just send an email to a prospective caterer with your requirements, then ask what they could do for $XX)

The DREAM Menu

The DREAM Menu is Important-with-a-capital-I because it lets you get down on the page all the things that you believe will totally go with your event. (Remember when we talked about your reason?) Not "Apple Cider Donuts" if you're having a "Healthy Eating Workshop." You gotta be true to you!

To help you out, I've put together a basic sample menu below (and also made a sweet PDF for you to print out, brainstorm on, and then email your selections in an email body to your caterer) so you can start planning and check this piece off your To Do List.


Breakfast is pretty straight forward. Here's a good list of possible breakfast items:

•Almond Milk
•Soy Milk
•Cranberry Juice
•Orange Juice

•English Muffins
•Peanut Butter

•Steel cut oats
•French toast
•Hot cereal


Okay, now take a look at your caterer's online menu. Pick three items (regardless of cost) that you love to death. Rank them in order of most-loved to least-loved.

Top Three Lunch Choices
1. ______________________________________
2. ______________________________________
3. ______________________________________

Top Three Lunch Sides (like salads, chips, or raw veggies)
1. ______________________________________
2. ______________________________________
3. ______________________________________


I always love to give sweet treats (or savory treats!) during breaks. No one likes to be hangry, especially if they've been working hard all day at a workshop. Delight your clients with some of these yummy plates in between sessions.

•Iced tea, lemonade, cookies
•Freshly baked brownies, coffee, tea
•Ginger tea, scones
•Lemon squares, sweet tea, lemonade

•Cheese, crackers, wine
•Meats, grapes, crackers, tea
•Cut up veggies with hummus, green tea
•Pita wedges, tortilla chips, dips, beer

Okay your turn.


1. In the comments below, tell me one delicious surprise (food or otherwise) that you received at a live workshop, retreat, or even just a vacation that you went on. We all love hearing what makes our mouths water and keeps us happy customers.

2. Sign up for my weekly gossip e-rag (basically my newsletter about events, just more fun) to get this special PDF menu emailed directly to you, AS WELL as my Essential Workshop Planning Checklist.

Happy planning, young padawans!

Lauren CaselliComment