Corporate dinners are a long-standing corporate tradition, used to conclude fiscal years, celebrate new milestones, introduce new management, or a host of other prestigious events. They integrate entertainment with professionalism and allow different corporate levels and branches to mix and mingle. A successful business dinner commemorates company achievements, recognizes successful employees, and entertains the guests.
Planning starts approximately 12-28 months before the event. Before anything else, ask the question, how should the atmosphere be? A corporate dinner may be formal or relaxed.
A posh, roomy venue is an appropriate choice for a corporate dinner. There should be plenty of space for guests to walk by tables. The location should be booked sometime in advance. Also, a contingency date should be selected.
How to contact attendees? Formal dinners require elegant letters, while less formal dinners need little more than a well-written office memo or even e-mail. Regardless of method, the first invitation should be sent 2-3 months before the event, with the last reminder one week beforehand. All solicitations should prominently include dates, times, basic agenda, and a well-placed marketing ploy to attract the wavering.
As for food choices, formal dinners require four- and five-star courses, while casual festivities need three-star fare. This choice, however, leads to another quandary: self-serve buffet or maitre d’ service? Buffets promote community and congeniality but sacrifice sophistication; maitre d’ service reeks of elegance and French hospitality but leaves the palate wanting. Simply decide which set of attributes is most important.
When selecting entertainment for formal events, local burgeoning bands, DJs, rank-and-file comedians, puppeteers, etc. should be foregone. The event manager should carefully choose professional, engaging keynote speakers (motivational or informative) and classy musicians to set the mood.
When attendees enter, they should sign a master RVSP roster (yes, RSVP’s are essential) and be lead by ushers (solicited volunteers or paid staff) to their assigned seats – give VIPs subliminal preferential treatment.