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August 25, 2016

Americas: A Catering Director’s Advice to Planners

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diane tighe

MeetingsNet recently caught up with Diane Tighe, director of catering and conference services at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club on the campus of Duke University in Durham, N.C., to talk about food trends and how planners can make the most of the relationship with their catering and conference services partners.

MeetingsNet: What is the most important information that meeting planners should share with the catering and conference services team?
Diane Tighe:
Prior to meeting with a venue’s catering and conferences services team, meeting planners should first identify and understand the dynamic of their group and overall goals of the event. Dietary restrictions, including an understanding of cultural needs as well as food allergy needs, are among the most important pieces of information to share. That said, every detail is important. Your catering team doesn’t know what they don’t know. It’s important to share the mission of your event, the goals you need to accomplish, and to be honest about any questions you have or areas you’re not comfortable with. I work to ask the right questions, and it always helps if the meeting planner is prepared with the answers. If a planner doesn’t give me all the information I need, I have to guess. That gives me a 50 percent chance of getting things wrong. I never like to find out after an event that I could have enhanced and improved upon a component in some way if additional information had been shared.

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