While it took a temporary hiatus during the worst of the pandemic, we are seeing food and drinks being offered at booths on the trade show floor. Walking a trade show is a hungry business and booths offering a respite can be a welcome site to weary attendees. Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind if you are considering taking your food/beverage game up a notch.

DO: Take Advantage of the Opportunity for Branding
Everything you hand out at your booth is an opportunity to communicate your brand. Serving cookies? Wrap them in wax paper or cellophane with your logo and serve them with a branded napkin. Wrap your water bottles in customized stickers, serve coffee with branded coffee sleeves. Even quirkier food options can be leveraged as a communication vehicle – entice visitors to your booth with a popcorn machine and label the bags with your customized graphics. Some people balk at customizing disposable packaging. If that’s the case and your budget allows, serve snacks in a branded thermos or mug.

serving foodDO: Leverage the “smell” factor
Now, this is a delicate line to walk…the smell of chocolate chip cookies wafting through the air can certainly draw folks to your booth. However, an overpowering smell can drive traffic away. Our staff has logged thousands of hours at trade shows. John Schlosser, Director of Sales and Marketing mentioned the smell of fresh baked cookies as being irresistible and Dan Detlaff from our Operations department concurs saying “Everyone comes looking for that booth where it smells so good.” A more unique baked good favorite for our Director of Culture/Business Development, Brian Magliocco was warm sugar donuts.

DON’T: Serve overly messy food
Imagine you are waking the trade show floor, laden with a bag of giveaways in one hand, water bottle in the other. Do you want to attempt juggling overly messy food? Probably not! A safer bet is to serve individual portions of “finger food” that can easily be eaten in your booth.

DO: Consider serving beverages
There may be a compelling reason to avoid serving alcoholic beverages at your booth, but if it is an option for you, our informal poll shows that good beer or wine are highly sought! This may be an opportunity to give a nod to the location of the show or your company home town – are you exhibiting in the Milwaukee area? Serve some good German beer and cheese. Is your HQ in California? Showcase a wine from the area. If alcohol is not an option, quality coffee, or specialty soda may be a good fit for you.

DON’T: Forget about the logistics
Make sure you do your due diligence about all aspects of serving your food/beverage of choice. Bear in mind the rules of the show – is what you have in mind allowed? Make sure your electric needs and space considerations are adequate. If you have a limited footprint, perhaps it isn’t wise to use up too much square footage with a more elaborate food serving effort.

What you serve to attendees and how you serve is an opportunity to make an impression. Take the opportunity to think outside the box! You will not only draw people to your booth, you will increase the time they spend with you – giving you the opportunity to maximize your interaction with your customers and prospects. For more ideas on how to increase your impact at your next event, contact our trade show experts.