Five Ways Food Can Encourage Networking at Your Next Business Event

As you organize upcoming corporate events, you spend a lot of time coming up with strategies to encourage your attendees to talk to each other and form business and personal connections. In fact, every portion of your schedule can impact how much networking occurs, including meal times.

In this blog, we list five ways that your menu choices can encourage your attendees to chat, laugh and bond.


1. Clique Breakers

At large events, it's easy for individuals to stay with the group of people they know. To encourage networking, you must find ways to break individuals away from these cliques. Food stations or a buffet table can serve this purpose.

For either of these menu styles, most groups break apart to get the food they're most interested in. At food stations, attendees may choose to stay and chat with people who share their food preferences. In a buffet, attendees are likely to start conversations and ask people they connect with to join their group at a table.

You can also encourage cliques to separate by avoiding table-based meals. Instead, have beverages and hors d'oeuvres served throughout a meeting hall while your attendees walk around and mingle.


2. Comfort Zones

While you want your attendees to leave their social comfort zones, you don't want to make them too uncomfortable. For many people, finger foods can become a comfort item of sorts. For example, holding and drinking a beverage provides a natural excuse for conversation breaks.

Finger foods, bagged snacks and drinks can all give your attendees the confidence to hold long, in-depth conversations essential to effective networking.


3. Conversation Starters

Networking conversations have to start somewhere and food works well as a jumping off point, especially when your menu includes unique items. Consider special hors d'oeuvres that bring something new to the table.

These food items could be fresh twists on old classics or something new for your attendees to love. For example, spice up deviled eggs with a sriracha twist or choose sushi over more conventional meal options.


4. Energizers

A long day of meetings and collaboration can make networking a little lackluster. For many people, a snack or beverage can provide enough energy and refreshment to save a conversation. If you have a morning event, provide a range of energizing foods and beverages, from coffee to yogurt and granola.

If you're hosting an all-day event, consider providing bottled beverages and bagged snacks. Provide healthy choices, such as fruit juice and nuts in addition to classic choices like soft drinks and chips. Keeping your attendees full throughout the day improves the overall mood and encourages pleasant and meaningful conversation.


5. Tie-Ins to Meetings

Even if the focus of your event is on networking, you likely have a keynote speaker, seminars or other side meetings. One of the best ways to ensure that the information conveyed in these meetings becomes part of your attendees' conversations is by tying it in throughout the day.

Your tie-ins can be as simple or creative as you want, as long as they make your guests think about the meetings. For example, if you have a keynote speaker who talks about "staying afloat" in the business world, your menu could include "life preservers" made up of doughnuts, cookies or breads.

Use these methods to ensure that your corporate guests leave your next event with new contacts and increased motivation.

If you want a specific tone or theme at your business event, talk to McHale’s Catering about your goals. McHale’s Catering can consider specific factors, like your venue and event purpose to make personalized suggestions for improving how your attendees interact.

Latest Blog Posts

Join us Fri, Feb 16 for 103.5 WGRR Dine, Dance, and Romance

Hosted by Chris & Janeen, Married with Microphones, join us Friday, Feb 16 for Dinner and Dancing at The Grand!

Jan 20 & 21 Visit Us at Wendy's Bridal Show

Visit McHale's at the Wendy's Bridal Show
January 20 and 21, 2018
Sat 10AM - 5PM Sun 11AM -5PM

Visit Our Open House on Selected Saturdays

Recently Engaged?

Come to a Open House at The Gardens of Park Hills, The Grand Ballroom or The Pinnacle Ballroom.

Walking into The Holiday Season..



Can you believe we are already two weeks into October? Before we know it the Holiday Season will be upon us.

Latest News


Ceremony and Reception at the Grand
Did you know that 37% of the weddings we hosted in 2017 had both their ceremony and reception at one of our beautifully decorated venues? With just one call you can easily plan both your wedding and reception and enjoy some of these great benefits:

Wedding Tips

Assigned Seating Themes

If you are planning on assigned seating arrangements- this is a great time to get creative! Instead of table numbers, why not use pictures of family and friends? Do you enjoy traveling?

Featured Weddings

Christina and Randy: The Grand Wedding Reception

Take a photo journey with Randy Limes and Christina Dietz as they celebrate at The Grand Ballroom on Aug 1, 2009.

View Wedding Photos

View All Featured Weddings

With multiple exquisite venues in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, a reputation for providing delectable cuisine and unparalleled service, and more than 50 years experience in the food and catering industry, the future of McHale’s Events and Catering is unlimited.

Our goal is to continue to exceed all expectations in the area of on-premise and off-premise catering services in the Cincinnati area.

John and Cheryl Wessel

"Thank you to everyone that made the wedding reception for Brent and Becca Archibald fabulous. 

Everything was beautiful and just like Becca and Brent wanted.  The food was absolutely... Read More

Marcus Bailey

I appreciated the information on the website that other catering companies did not provide of the basics of what meals options would be available. That was what encouraged me to call, I was able... Read More

Jim McMahon - Father of the Bride

Note to Brent:  Happy New Year!  Just wanted to say THANK YOU! for all your help with my daughter's wedding (Megan McMahon).  The evening turned out beautiful.  The staff, food, room were beyond... Read More

Dana and Seth Storer

We had Brent and she was just amazing! She really helped us through the whole wedding process and made our lives so much easier.

The whole staff did a great job! 

Courtney Babinec

Your staff were amazing. Anything that we needed they were right there to help however we needed them. They handled our employees in a professional manner and we are so happy that we had your... Read More

Contact Us

   contact (@)
  (859) 442-7776
  (859) 291-9663
1622 Dixie Hwy
Park Hills, KY 41011

Keep in Touch