Maintaining a high level of attendee engagement after lunch is a difficult but essential task for meeting planners. The rate of attrition increases every hour after lunch, and unless you provide enough incentive to stay, some members of the audience will start making up excuses to leave. Of course you can’t always control the content of the afternoon sessions, but you can entice the crowd to stay by appealing to their snack cravings.
Here are 6 Simple and Delectable Afternoon Snack Ideas:
Trail Mix with M&M’s
There are dozens of different ways to customize this creation, just don’t forget to add the M&M’s! Even the most basic mix of peanuts and chocolate will spark the salivary glands. If you are feeling creative, then you might want to experiment by mixing and matching ingredients like almonds, dried fruit, pretzels, granola and the many different varieties of M&M’s.
As soon as a fresh batch of popcorn lands in your room, the aroma alone will generate a new level of enthusiasm for the afternoon session. But don’t limit your guests to one variety. Surprise everyone by offering a mini-buffet of popcorn selections. Caramel corn, chocolate drizzle, and cheddar popcorn are just a few of the options you have. Popcorn is great because it is relatively healthy, and less expensive than baked goods.
Do you feel like you’re at a baseball game reading through these ideas? I promise it is sheer coincidence! Soft pretzels are a hit with almost every crowd. They hold up well on the line, are low in calories, and most importantly, taste delicious. You might want to serve your pretzels plain with condiments like salt, nacho cheese, and cinnamon sugar on the side.
Ice Cream Novelties
Everyone remembers the excitement in childhood that came with seeing the ice cream truck rolling down the street. There’s no better way to reinvigorate a crowd then to leverage the universal magic of ice cream for bringing smiles to every age group. Some venues can even recreate the ice cream truck experience with a cart service. With this, they fill a portable cooler with ice cream sandwiches, bars, and single serving cups. It’s as close as you’ll get to a fail-proof snack idea!
When chips and pretzels just won’t cut it for your group, a spicy alternative is to add a nacho bar to your PM snack menu. The concept is simple enough, you provide the chips and toppings, and your attendees get to build their own creations. Take the concept to the next level by adding a non-alcoholic daiquiri bar to the mix!
The cupcake phenomenon has reached epic proportions lately, and this has resulted in hundreds of new ideas to play with. There are more than a few fun ways to present a cupcake tower snack. You can divide your flavors into different towers of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry selections. Another great idea is to theme your towers around international flavors like coconut, banana, French pastry and German chocolate.
Don’t underestimate the power of PM snacks for keeping your guests engaged during those long afternoons. It is easy to look past afternoon refreshments, especially if you have blown most of your budget on breakfast and lunch. Keep in mind though; the majority of donuts and muffins at a continental breakfast go untouched. It might make sense to cut back on your breakfast budget and appropriate those funds towards sprucing up your afternoon offerings.