Ah, the trade show breakfast buffet. Seasoned attendees will grade a trade show, first, by the caliber and convenience of the nearest major airport and, second, by how appetizing its breakfast is. The show’s lineup may slot in third. But, if we’re being honest, it’s probably below at least a couple other priorities. 

We apologize if we’ve offended the event planners among us. We’re not exactly disclosing any closely guarded secrets here, though. You have to have noticed how breakfast is usually the liveliest hour of the day. Breakfast and cocktail hour, really. (Accessibility to a good cocktail hour is more likely third on that list of priorities, come to think of it.) And the liveliness ebbs and flows in direct proportion to the quality of the food that’s being served. You’ll know that pale scrambled eggs and wrinkled sausage links are sitting under the heat lamps by the subdued mood that’s settled in over the room like a pea-soup fog. By contrast, you could have trouble voicing your order over the raucous conversation all around you when there are made-to-order omelets and a waffle station in play.

As an event planner, you can chose to ignore this reality and continue to focus on curating smart, useful, distinguishing content. We couldn’t really fault you there. It’d be silly to continue writing this post if we didn’t put just as much value in our own content. But, what we try to do within this blog is read and react to trends and behaviors not just within our industry but within our own immediate circles, too. And this is a scenario that we’ve observed ourselves again and again. So there’s no real harm in at least acknowledging it. It’s not like doing so suddenly undermines the worth of your trade show. If anything, it positions you as a more attentive host. You were always taking into consideration the entirety of your guests’ experience. There’s just been a small disconnect between your perception of it and theirs.

So, let’s agree that breakfast shouldn’t be an afterthought. The question, then, becomes, how do you carry that momentum through the morning and, ideally, the rest of the day?

A top-shelf coffee bar. (You were expecting a karaoke stage?) After all, the warm glow of a heart-hugging breakfast wears off fairly quickly. Probably within the hour, if they had the waffles. Coffee, however, is the gift that keeps on giving. As plates are being wiped cleaned and a hint of disappointment is just beginning to creep in, it’s like looking up and having your inner voice—in an eighties game-show host’s tenor—say, “But wait! There’s more!”

A gourmet breakfast signals that you’re paying close attention to the details. But we consume so much coffee, especially where there’s work to be done, that situating a quality coffee bar between the buffet and ground zero can’t really be considered a detail. It’s the last impression you’ll make before you deliver your headliners to your guests. And that seems like something that would matter a lot to you.

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