Whether you are looking for inspiration for your conference closing reception, or something unique and creative to impress your gala guests, food & beverage is an important part of the overall guest experience. Make sure your next event is memorable and delicious with these trending event dining concepts.
Sober friendly drinks are surging in popularity as people are continuing to turn away from alcohol, as part of their post covid health revivals. That being said, guests are also still impressed by and looking for delicious drink options and fun craft mocktails.
#2 Butter Boards
Move over cheese and salami, because butter is having a charcuterie moment. What started as a social media viral moment has caught on in the event world too. It’s versatile. It’s a more affordable option than inflation affected meat & cheese. And it’s a perfect event appetizer to welcome guests at their table with bread.
#3 Mushroom Menus
Another delicious ingredient having a moment right now are mushrooms. Like past trends such as the kale takeover of 2010, or the Great Cauliflower pizza mashup of 2016, mushrooms are now in the spotlight, and for good reason. They are very versatile, pair well with many things, and offer lots of varieties to keep things interesting in a multitude of dishes.
#4 Open Fire Cooking
Who doesn’t love the smell of grilled food, and along with it, the bond of communal dining. As guests come back together again and event planners are looking to dial up the interactive dining experience, we are seeing a return to our human roots, and ‘firing up’ the nostalgic simplicity of cooking over an open flame.
#5 Food Walls
Speaking of interactive food stations, we love this idea of the vertical food wall. This is basically the cousin of the recently popular donut wall, or what we call dessert wall 2.0. Picture a large wall adorned with food, free for the choosing of any passing guest. Planners are now designing displays for just about anything including drinks, appetizers, mini portioned mains, and of course – desserts.
#6 Drink Towers Aren’t Just for Champagne Anymore
This one is pretty straight forward and basically replaces champagne with whatever beverage you would like. Playing off of the mocktail trend, and still providing a fun interactive drink station, we love that there are now more reasons to include a drink tower in multiple areas of an event.
#7 Vegan Menus
As more and more event planners are focused on healthy and non-meat food options, we see a rise in vegan food options, vegan desserts and even completely vegan menus trending in 2023. As people have focused on their health in recent years, the gross vegan food stigma has all but dissipated resulting in people now eager for delicious, healthy vegan options and we are here for it.
#8 Sustainable Locally Sourced Ingredients
Supporting local is not necessarily a new trend in restaurants and local farmers markets, but in the event world we are seeing a shift towards locally sourced ingredients a bit more as a cost savings response to increased food prices nationwide. Expect to see more artisanal items and seasonal menus this year.
Ube is a sweet purple yam, with a mild, delicious, almost vanilla-like taste often associated with Asian dishes and cuisine. Ube seems to be popping up everywhere lately, and for good reason, it tastes good in so many ways. Mostly used for dessert pastries, ube is also a welcome and delightful surprise with savory entrees as well.
#10 Retro Food
Basically think of this as comfort food from when you were young, but with a twist. Nostalgia and retro food items are making a major comeback. From mac and cheese to pizza bites to classic old-school cereals, you’ll see your childhood favorites on the buffet line in new and playful ways.