Food and beverage teams at hotels and meeting venues have to be flexible to cater to the needs of their various clients.
Kelly Van Dyke, CMP, CTA for AHC+Hospality, the management company for a trio of hotels in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, said they regularly have groups from around the country and the world.
“We have groups from Asia, South and Central America and Europe on a monthly basis,” she said. “Each and every group represents a new and exciting opportunity to meet their cultural and religious needs.
Photo credit: Experience Grand Rapids
“We have done groups of up to 5,000 vegan/vegetarians, large Jewish weddings and other large groups throughout the year,” she said. “We constantly pull the team together, work with specialists and deliver quality food and service.”
This summer they were tasked with planning Indian meals for 3,000 people, mostly Hindu and many vegetarian, for BMM 2017, the biannual conference of Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal of North America.
AHC+Hospitality worked with the convention center, Experience Grand Rapids, conference organizers and an Indian catering company to plan food and beverage for the multi-day gathering, which is a business, social and networking event for people with roots in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
The Bruhan Mahatrashra Mandal of North America during BMM 2017 in Grand Rapids.
“The clients worked closely with the vendors and sales team, to build a menu that met their needs,” Van Dyke said. “There were many meetings with the culinary staff and the clients to hone in on the final menu of all Indian dishes.”
And there is more to Indian cooking than curry and nan.
“Indian cuisine is very regional, family centric and faith-driven,” Van Dyke said. “Every time you see how to produce items, you will only see it in that part of India.”
Van Dyke said meetings and communications began with all parties a year out from the convention start and continued right up to the event, ensuring that everyone was on the same page.
“The communication from all aspects of the event was such that we were so prepared, it went off without a hitch,” she said. “The feedback was this was the best BMM Conference they have ever attended. The food was great and the city was friendly and lively.”
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