How To have diverse and inclusive food at events

National Events Council

I remember like it was yesterday, my Sista/cousin got engaged in early 1980. The night before the wedding, our mothers and aunts were baking hams, cutting edges off bread for sandwiches, and freezing punch rings. I thought, “Wow, this is a lot of craziness and I love it!” 

Fast forward to the present; when it comes to culinary for weddings, conferences and other entertaining, things have changed drastically. The decisions can be overwhelming: stations, buffet, or seated service; mac and cheese versus stuffed ravioli; carved tender versus brisket; sea bass versus salmon. How do you decide? 

Personalize the culinary experience for your guests

Since 2020, it’s about creating a diverse and inclusive food experiences whether for a conference or for a wedding. We’ve heard the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but why is it important at events and how we implement it? 

We as planners and hosts are used to asking, “Do any of your guests have food allergies?” I don’t know about you, but now this has become a loaded question. Previously, I’d received simple responses like, “I have a couple of vegetarians.” Now, the responses are “vegan, gluten free, nut allergy,” and everything in between. For most people, the questions end here. While this is acceptable, your job may not be complete. 

Diversity and inclusion food extends past the basic food allergy question. Event attendees are much more culturally, racially, religious, and disability diverse. They are also “woke” when it comes to entertainment and having an experience. 


The right questions to ask, while being sensitive, that help craft the perfect menu: 

Where are guests traveling from? This is a great question to dive more into religious dietary considerations. It opens the door to ask if a guest keeps kosher, requires halal, or is vegetarian due to religious beliefs. 

Do any central attendees have dietary considerations? This can help you navigate the vegan/vegetarian question. If upper management is vegan, this could signal that the company has a health initiative. This may affect the amount of vegan/vegetarian/gluten free requests. 

Do any attendees have disabilities? You’ll have to pay close attention to the response to this question. Attendees with mobility issues can affect seating and table placement. Diabetic, heart sensitive, and guests in substance use recovery, this will affect the menu selections. 

Is sustainability important to you? Guests who are concerned about Mother Earth tend to eat very healthy. They’re also concerned about waste and supporting locally sourced and sustainable companies. 

In Concolusion

It’s always a smart idea to research your client prior to meeting via their social media and an internet search. Create a questionnaire that takes the guesswork out of what to ask during your consultation. If uncomfortable with asking these questions, the form can be shared with your client prior to your first meeting. By implementing these quick tips, guests will notice the difference.

If you need help with having a diverse and inclusive food menu, contact us to learn more ways in which you can craft the perfect menu for your next event.

Blog post written by Treasurer Steve M. Moore at Affairs at the Fox.


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